19th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches us that children are precious for two reasons: because they teach us about the simplicity and humility that we must all live as Christians if we are to form part of the Kingdom of heaven, and because they are all precious in the eyes of God. It’s sad that in society today things are branded as “adult” or for “mature” audiences when they contain content that isn’t appropriate for children or for adults. It’s not a society at times that fosters the innocence of children or adults, and sometimes children are forced to “grow up” before their time due to the dramatic circumstances they have to face, and certain adults need to grow up, living in a state of immaturity that’s not health for adults or children.

We must care for our children and we must learn from them: a child shows joy, kindness, simplicity, and trust. He or she reminds us that we are children of one Father and that He has given us a Blessed Mother to watch over us. Like children we can turn to God and to Mary for help in whatever we need, and let ourselves be led by Mary’s hand to her Son in order to be lead to Our Father. Anything that interferes with that, whether for children or adults, is toxic. Our Lord reminds us today that the loss of one member of the flock is not indifferent: everyone deserves care and attention, which is why we defend life from the moment of its conception to its natural death and support whatever measures help that life to grow spiritually. In today’s complex society there are so many ways for sheep to be lost, so we must be vigilant and be voice for those lost sheep who can’t speak for themselves.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us grow in child-like simplicity and humility, and pray for the protection and spiritual growth of every life in every stage of its existence so that we may all enter into the Kingdom.

Readings: Deuteronomy 31:1–8; Deuteronomy 32:3–4b, 7–9, 12; Matthew 18:1–5, 10, 12–14.

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

The journey to a profound and meaningful encounter with Our God is a long one, as the First Reading reminds us today. For Elijah the Lord sent an angel as his messenger to give him food and drink in order to continue on his pilgrimage to meet God and sort out what had happened in his mission and what needed to happen. Elijah had all but given up, but he was sent encouragement and nourishment along the way. He wanted the journey to be over, but the Lord still had plans for him.

In today’s Gospel God himself, the Son, has come to encourage the faithful, and today he tries to teach them that he is the Bread of Life who will sustain them in their pilgrimage toward eternal life. It’s difficult for the crowds to understand this teaching: they know Jesus, where he is from, who he parents are, so it’s hard for them to believe he has come down from Heaven. They’re earthly knowledge and reasoning are not enough: it’s time for faith. It’s not just a faith born in a vacuum: they’re receiving grace to help them believe and be open to the Heavenly Father’s messenger. If they open their hearts to the Father, the Father leads them to take the next step. They must believe in His Son, not just as a sure guide in their pilgrimage to eternal life, but as their nourishment to be able to undertake the journey and as their “sponsor:” his self-offering makes the journey possible at all.

Let’s thank Our Lord today for helping us in our journey toward eternal life, and open our hearts to whatever he is trying to teach us.

Readings: 1 Kings 19:4–8; Psalm 34:2–9; Ephesians 4:30–5:2; John 6:41–51. See also 3rd Week of Easter, Thursday.