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.

8 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    I visit elderly people, too! They are like little old babies. Visiting my old friends helps me put things in perspective and come to terms with my own mortality.
    One day I won’t be going for ten mile hikes while carrying my baby in her backpack. She will be pushing me around in a wheelchair someday, too soon, I suspect!
    Since I know I will one day lose my looks, I don’t worry about the occasional grey hair or wrinkle too much. This is our common lot as human beings. We truly are ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
    Thank you for this thoughtful post, Monsignor!

  2. RichardGTC says:

    Cute video. When they don’t catch fish, that is like the prophets of the Old Testament. Then, Jesus appears and they catch a lot of fish.

  3. Mary Josphine says:

    Whenever I serve as Eucharistic Minister, I am in awe of how each person I see, no matter how young or old IS like a child when they walk up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Once Mass has ended, and we all go back to the regular world, everyone reverts back to themselves again.

  4. GP says:

    I truly and sincerely appreciate all your wisdom and thoughts on your blog, Msgr!! They really reveal great parables of the beauty and love of God for all of us.

    Blessings and Peace!

  5. maureen says:

    beautiful!

  6. sharon says:

    Msgr, thank you for your blog! We only think of earthly fathers seeing their children as little babies regardless of their age or stature in life. But Our Father, “Abba” sees us in the same light, we’re just His little flock, always in need of everything and forever loved. Do you ever just stand still and feel His love washing over you?

  7. linda eaton says:

    Peter Kreeft said he thought in Heaven we would all be as children; eternally playing and learning about God and all that is his. I think it makes sense as we naturally refer to children not our adults or perhaps our adult children. Jesus said knowing God is eternal life.

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