On one particular morning, just two weeks after His resurrection, Jesus stood on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. And, seeing the Apostles in a boat just off shore he said, Little Children, Have you caught anything? (John 21:5).
It is a rather strange way to speak to grown men: “Little Children” (παιδία = paidia = little ones, children, infants, the diminutive of pais (child), hence “little ones”). And yet how deeply affectionate it is.
We often think of ourselves in grander terms, terms that bespeak power, wisdom, age and strength. But I suspect that, to God, we must always seem as little children.
When I do infant Baptisms I normally use the Gospel of Mark where the Lord says, among other things, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child (παιδίον) shall not enter it (Mark 10:15). And thus, we must finally come to realize that however rich, or powerful, capable or mature we my think ourselves to be, we depend radically on Abba for everything, even the next beat of our heart. The infants I baptize are already preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom simply by their littleness. They summon us who think we are strong and independent to know who and what we really are: little children, so needful of Abba for everything.
I am often moved as I walk the halls of nursing homes and see many once powerful “adults” now reflecting to their truest state. And thus, like little children, they have become dependent. Many cannot talk any longer. Many just sing and hold dolls, wear diapers, need to be fed and cry for help and comfort. It has always been so for them (for us), it is just now more evident.
This Sunday’s Gospel begins with the Lord calling us his “little flock.” And so we are, little, and yet loved.
And somewhere, standing on the seashore of your life the Lord is calling out: “Little One…have you anything to eat?”
I though of this when I saw this video. I wondered as I viewed it if it doesn’t depict us all as God really sees us. The folk in this video think they are “big and bad.” But for a moment we them as God sees them. Enjoy this.