Daily Reflection
August 19th, 2006

John Schlegel, S.J.

Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Ezekiel 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32
Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
Matthew 19:13-15

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Sometimes we get in the way. We get in the way of others. We get in the way of God.

In today’s Gospel we find these lines:

“Children were brought to Jesus that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ After He placed His hands on them, He went away.”

The disciples were well intentioned folks. Jesus was tired, the time was late, the Lord needed both nourishment and rest. Or so they thought. Jesus had other ideas. Not only did He want to see the children and bless them, He also wanted to make a point that God’s kingdom belongs to the innocent and the clean of heart. God uses moments in human time to craft directives for eternity.

Sometimes we make the same mistake and, again, usually for the right reason. We get in the way of others, of those around us, our families, colleagues or co-workers. We do not bother them because we think they are tired, hungry, overly busy or uninterested. So we prevent others from seeing them because “he/she is too busy,” or not interested. Unbeknown to us, we may be doing the wrong thing for the right reason. This happens to me frequently, as folks try to protect my time and schedule; or as I attempt to protect other’s privacy.

We do the same with God. Like the disciples we try to keep others from Jesus; not out of any ill will, but rather out of concern for the Lord. However, God will be God and go about God’s business with or without us. The crowds in the Gospel followed Jesus in the first place because they saw the signs He was performing and heard the words He was speaking. God, in the person of Jesus, continues to give signs and speak to us of God’s presence in human circumstances and in human affairs.

St. Paul reminds us that we Christians have been made one in Christ and therefore should live in a way that befits our corporate identity. We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. The very structure of Christian faith proclaims unity—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all. Hence we have a responsibility to mediate God’s presence to those around us, not to obstruct God’s movements. You never know who your actions touch, for better or worse. Jesus can, and does, take the life that you distribute to others and with His grace influences them in ways we do not know.

We all know there are many people in our day-to-day world who need our healing touch, kind words, encouragement and love. God works through us, so let God do God’s business. Do not get in God’s way, even for the most benign and well intended intentions. As the Gospel noted: “After Jesus placed His hands on them, He went away.” Just so, let God go where God will!

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