St John Eudes, priest, pray for us
19th Week in Ordinary Time : Saturday 19th August 2023
Josh. 24:14-29; Ps. 15:1-2,5,7-8,11;
Mt. 19:13-15 (Ps. Wk. III)
“Do not hinder them”. Little children’s role in the life and teaching of Jesus calls for prayerful reflection. Matthew does not say who brought the children for Jesus’ blessing, but we may safely assume their mothers brought them.
In some parishes now, little Catholic children who have not yet received their First Communion – and indeed even non-baptised children – come out or are brought out at the end of the Mass to receive the priest’s blessing. Masses are celebrated in Catholic schools, and even non-baptised adults are invited to come for a blessing. This is a beautiful and significant gesture of inclusion, welcome, tolerance and compassion.
An eminent scholar has studied the word “hinder” in the New Testament and demonstrates that the principal occurrences are related to baptism. In the beautiful story of the deacon Philip and the Ethiopian official in Acts 8:26-40, after he has been instructed by Philip, the official says: “There is some water there; is there anything to hinder me from being baptised?” In making the Church more open according to the mind and heart of Pope Francis, perhaps we should pray for enlightenment to listen carefully and courageously to follow Jesus’ teaching: “Do not hinder them.”
Lord Jesus, help us to be a truly welcoming and compassionate Church.