Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Father Knows Best

Today's Gospel (Matthew 18: 1-5, 10, 12-14) speaks of being humble and uses a child as an example. At first this sounds pretty off-base, since I doubt that many of us would use the word humble to describe many children. Children often seem to be the exact opposite, demanding attention and seeing the world as if it revolves around their needs and wishes. But when you think about it, a child is really powerless without adults to support and take care of them. As much as they may whine and plead for things, as many times as they may throw a "temper tantrum", it is still the parent who makes the decision. Now, some parents may just give in and acquiesce to the demands of the child, but that is also the decision of the parent. And in the end, most children are glad that they do not have to make big decisions, because they instinctively know that their parents will always want what is best for them.
In reflecting on this, it seems that the Lord correctly identified the way that our relationship with God is lived. We may beg and plead, but it is God who has the ultimate power and is the One who has the best understanding of what is good for us. Even when we decide not to do God's will in a particular situation, we know that He has the ultimate say and His will is what will ultimately prevail. In this sense, then, the sooner we realize this and act accordingly, the better.
Most of us are very glad to finally become adults, because we can do what we want. But that is really not true. Indeed, adults have just as many, if not more constraints on them as children, even if we fail to realize it. But the Lord is advising us to look at our relationship with God in a different way. Rather than being upset, sad or angry that we have to depend on God, He invites us to rejoice and be glad. If we take on the humility of a child and accept that our Father knows best, we can rely on the fact that He will not allow us to become lost. And even if we occasionally think that God is not around, not watching, not concerned, we can be sure that He is always aware of us and always watching over His beloved child.

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