THE JOY AND BEAUTY OF INNOCENCE
This past week in my homily, I reflected on the line from “Brother Sun Sister Moon”. In our preoccupation with original sin, we too often forget original innocence. We believe in our faith that Jesus Christ has restored the innocence that was lost by sin. Sin is the destruction of relationships: relationships between us and God, between each other, us and the natural order and us from our most authentic selves in God’s Divine Image and Likeness. Jesus is the way back to that innocence.
I believe we get a glimpse of this innocence in small children. Jesus teaches in the Beatitudes Mt. 5:8 “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God” and again in Mt. 18:10 (when speaking of children) “… their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” If only we could all become again like little children in our relationship with our God and Father.
I would like to share two particular examples of this innocence. Years ago when a new altar server was serving for the first time (he was not yet tall enough for his feet to reach the floor when he was sitting, so naturally he was swinging his feet) when I sat down next to him after the homily, he looked at me and said: “You mean to tell me Jesus is God! You learn something new each day.”
Another time a young child was being shown the manger at Christmas time and he asked: “Father you have Jesus here and we have Jesus at home, where is the real Jesus?” I told him that Jesus was in Church and in his heart. He put his hands on his hips and said: “Good night Jesus, wherever you are.”
One more example, a young child asked me where I lived and I pointed out the Rectory. His sister then said she knew Jesus was here because of the statue. I told them about the Sanctuary Candle and then took them up front and opened the Tabernacle so they could see where Jesus was. The four year old then asked: “How does Jesus get groceries?” (Very real, honest and practical) I told him that He sends one of His angels for them. The boy was happy with and agreed with my answer.
God bless and remember: Unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.