Monday, 16 May 2011

John Paul II visited Sofia Cavalletti's atrium in Rome.

'Jesus said to his disciples: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," and he will add: "for to such belongs the kingdom of God" (Mk 10:14). Another time, as the Apostles are arguing about who is the greatest, he will put a child in front of them and say: "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3). On that occasion, he also spoke harsh words of warning: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea: (Mt 18:6).

How important children are in the eyes of Jesus! We could even say that the Gospel is full of the truth about children. The whole of the Gospel could actually be read as the "Gospel of children".

What does it mean that "unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven"? Is not Jesus pointing to children as models even for grown-ups? In children there is something that must never be missing in people who want to enter the kingdom of heaven. People who are destined to go to heaven are simple like children, and like children are full of trust, rich in goodness and pure. Only people of this sort can find in God a Father and, thanks to Jesus, can become in their own turn children of God.

Is not this the  main message of Christmas? We read in Saint John: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14); and again: "To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12) Children of God! You, dear children, are sons and daugters of your parents. God wants us all to become his adopted children by grace. Here we have the real reason for Christmas joy.
Be happy in this "Gospel of divine sonship".'

Extract from the Letter of the Pope to Children in the Year of the Family.