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Thursday, January 19, 2017
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Holy Spirit Interactive: Fr. Robert D Smith : Become Like Little Children

Become Like Little Children

by Fr. Robert D Smith

A lot of people think that mothers and fathers can walk out on their families and marry someone else and that only children will perceive it as monstrous. One of the Gospel passages often musunderstood is Matthew 18:3 "...unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God." Many un- fortunately think of this as just a pretty phrase with no particularly profound meaning behind it. They think of it as requiring some vague kind of simplicity. The Gospels show that Christ meant much more than that.

Acceptance of God's law, of His ideas of right and wrong as eternal and inflexible for all men, is required. Little children do this very well. And everyone who hopes for Heaven must follow their example. Those who do not, to their total astonishment in the next world, will find themselves fulfilling the negative side of this statement: they will not enter God's Kingdom.

Christ used what seemed to be an odd phrase in referring to the damned: "... there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth." (Matt.13:50). Christ repeated this phrase more often than any other in all four Gospels- five times, on five separate occasions-six times altogether! Why? Because He knew that His revelations about Hell would be the hardest to accept. We all like to think of ourselves as mature, and, from a worldly point of view, Hell does seem childish.

Following all Ten Commandments is childishly easy, childishly understandable. Eternal torment for violations for such simple things seems childish. It can seem too simple. Christ countered this response with numerous repetitions. Something can be simple and still be true. And He warned that simplicity is required in accepting the simple. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The soul in Hell will say to himself: "It was all so simple. A child, any child, could see it, and I was so stupid that I blotted even these laws from my mind while I was on Earth and ignored multiple warnings from Christ himself.

St.Paul said:"...be like children as far as evil is concerned, but in mind be mature." (1 Cor.14:20), Christ is not calling us either to a vague kind of simplicity or to simple-mindedness; quite the reverse. We are called to maturity, but a maturity that has not blinded itself to evil....to strict ideas of right and wrong, ideas held so clearly and easily by children.


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