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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 10, 13-16

People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples scolded them,

but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'

Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Probably this episode should be placed at some place of rest along Jesus’ way to Jerusalem. It was customary to present children to the rabbis to be blessed by placing hands on them. But the disciples saw these crowds of children, who flocked around Jesus, and thought they disturbed him. Jesus took the opportunity to amaze the disciples once again and to teach them how to behave. First he rebuked them for they prevented children to come close to him. Jesus wanted them to be next to him and as soon as they arrived he “caressed them” and blessed them. The scene is unusual and certainly shows Jesus’ care and tenderness for the little ones. In this Gospel scene we recognize the millions of children in our contemporary world who do not know who to go to and remain crushed victims in loneliness and marginalization. No one embraces them, no one caresses them. On the contrary, they are often approached to be exploited in most cruel and indifferent ways. Therefore whoever gets close to them to help them, to rear them, to defend them, will certainly receive a great reward. We should not fear tenderness. And when Jesus says: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter it,” he proposes a paramount teaching to disciples’ lives. More than once in the Gospels this concept is repeated. We should just reflect on what Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (see Jn 3:3). Proposing the attitude of the child as the model of discipleship, Jesus wishes to emphasize the total dependence of the disciple of God as a child who depends on parents for everything. First the disciple is a child who receives everything from the Father and depends on Him for everything. It is the topic of the first beatitude of the Sermon of the Mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The poor in spirit are the humble, those who become children before God. They depend on Him and always consider themselves beloved children of the Father, for they have “received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rm 8:15). This is why Jesus says, “To such as these the kingdom of God belongs.”

Sunday Vigil