Baptismal Homily Practicum
Come to me!
[Mark 10:13-17] And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
Many of us probably remember going to an amusement park during our childhood. Perhaps you can even remember some of your favorite rides. However, you may also remember, the dreaded cut out cartoon character at the entrance of each ride. This cartoon character would have a big smile, its hand out as a measuring line, and a sign reading, "you must be this tall to ride." You would only be left to dream of that day when you would be that tall and stroll through the entrance of that ride! (some of us still dream of being tall enough to stroll through the entrance!). Nonetheless, these signs were necessary for ones own safety.
In todays Gospel, the disciples act like these cartoon characters. The disciples were preventing the children from meeting Jesus. However, unlike the disciples, the amusement parks did it for the sake of safety. It was not safe for the disciples to prevent the children from meeting Jesus. In fact, it was and is outright dangerous to keep anyone, child or not, from meeting Jesus! Jesus says, "let the little children come to me!"
Today, here at this baptism, we welcome this little child, George, to our family, the Catholic Church. There are no signs stating "you must be this tall". On the contrary, in accord with the will of Jesus, the Church welcomes everyone. Today, George becomes a new creation in Christ as the stain of original sin is washed away. A new creation who is anointed and claimed by Christ as his very own! From now on, George will belong to Christ and His Church and properly will be called "Christian." Lastly, it will be the responsibility of his parents and godparents to help him draw closer to Jesus and not be prevented from meeting Our Lord.
Welcome to your new family George. We welcome you as a fellow brother in the faith and Jesus welcomes and invites you to get on a ride, not at an amusement park, (although that may be in the near future!), but to His Heavenly kingdom. Today, let us pray that George may always hear the words of Jesus, "Come to me!"
John Sistare, Seminarian, Angelicum, Rome, January 11, 1999
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