Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kids: A Great Example

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Ephesians 4:30-5:2, but I’d also strongly encourage you to read the other readings.

We’re enjoined several times in scripture to be like little children. In terms of openness to the truth, in terms of radical trust, in terms of respect for our elders. This is one of few parts of scripture in which the this call is juxtaposed with a call to the imitation of God.

Remember all those places in scripture where we are told to do things like “be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect”? This is a call to imitate the father in his attributes, and also in his actions.

Children - especially small children - are a perfect example of how to do imitation right.

They not only imitate the things we do, they also imitate the things we avoid doing (or forget to do).  We pick up many of the habits that stick with us our whole lives as children, when we learn them by imitating our parents.

This is something that many parents instinctively try to take advantage of by modifying their regular behavior before a child is born to remove habits that they don’t want the child to imitate, or add habits they do want them to have. Things like making a point of eating healthier and removing certain words from their operating vocabulary are changes that expecting parents make in themselves so that their children will imitate those things, instead of what their parents were doing before.

So we are called to be like little children and imitate God our Father. What  form can that functionally take in our lives?

What traits of God do we need to take more into our daily lives? His compassion? His justice? His great sacrificial Love for us?

What about the things God the Father refrains from doing? This is a little harder to do with the Father - it is easier to see his action than his inaction. Among the things that my husband mentioned when we talked about it are refraining from always asserting his authority, not standing on his rights or dignity (even though he has every reason to do so!), and not exacting immediate justice on those who richly deserve it.

How much would the world benefit if we did a better job in this imitation of our Father in heaven?

Let’s pray:

God our Father,
We know that you, like a good father, show us the way that we are to act toward others and toward you. Nowhere in scripture is this more clear than in the life and death of Jesus Christ your son and our Lord.

Help us to see the ways in which we can better imitate you in our daily lives, and give us the grace we need to undertake that great challenge.


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