“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Mark 10 (vv. 2-16) has Jesus again being confronted by Pharisees — this time on the matter of divorce.  Jesus asks them what Moses had to say about the matter.  They tell Him that Moses allowed it.  Jesus tells them that he did this only because of hard-heartedness on the part of the people, but it was not meant to be that way from the beginning.  When man and woman come together in marriage God joins them together and man has no right to separate them.  In private, upon further questioning from the disciples, Jesus calls it adultery when married couples divorce and remarry.  The next scene has the disciples shooing away children who were brought to Jesus to be blessed by Him.  Jesus becomes indignant at the disciples’ actions telling them what appears in the headline and indicating that it is a childlike disposition that will get them to heaven.  And then He blesses all the children.  It is again worthwhile to be reminded of the importance of raising children properly and not giving scandal to them.  We are wise to remember Jesus’ strong words to those who don’t adhere to this: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Mt 18:6).  We first think of those who abuse children and the permanent scars they give to these little ones.  But in less egregious ways we can turn youngsters against God and the Church, bad example being primary among these.  How we as adult Christians conduct ourselves has a profound impact on those little ones who look up to us.  Whether we like it or not, we are all role models.  As has been written here many times before, we must reform our own lives first.  Prayer, sacraments, and forming a truly Catholic conscience are required to root sin and vice out of our lives.  Then when our faith permeates us we will not have concern of giving scandal since all we do is in conformity with God’s will.  We must be vigilant, though, regularly examining our conscience to become better at serving the Lord by serving others.  May we never be the cause of giving scandal to anyone, particularly the young who are the ones most influenced by our behavior.

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