Having confirmed God’s plan for marriage and condemning divorce, Christ blesses the fruit of physical union (children) and demonstrates the importance of spiritual fatherhood. Fathers and mothers are overwhelmingly drawn to bring their children to Christ to receive His blessing and prayers; it was also a Jewish practice for children to be blessed by a rabbi and for fathers to lay their hands on and bless their children (Gen 27:30; 48:14-16).

The disciples rebuke the parents, attempting to stop them from bringing the children to Jesus. The disciples may have had honorable intentions: the Master was tired; the crowds were too large; others were in more desperate need. More likely, the disciples were being pridefully thick-hearted, thinking that children were below the Master’s dignity. They had forgotten that Christ had recently taught them that to receive a child is to receive Him (Mark 9:36-37); they were pridefully acting like gatekeepers instead of gate-openers.

The disciples’ actions anger Christ and He rebukes them, commanding that the little children are to be brought to Him. Recalling His life with the Father in Heaven, Christ sees in children the spiritual qualities of those in Heaven: joy, poverty, simplicity, humility, obedience, dependency, vulnerability, etc.. In addition to the children being blessed by the Hand of God, Christ demonstrates spiritual fatherhood that all priests and men are called to; men are to  protect, provide and bring children to Christ. Like Christ blesses marriages, Christ blesses the fruit of marriages, laying His holy hands on the children, supernaturally blessing them; He confirms even the youngest are welcome into the Kingdom and lays the foundation for Baptism of infants.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ personally knows the Father and that children need to know Him too. Son of Man, Christ, despite His immense stature and power, has a personality that welcomes parents to present their infants for His blessing. Divine King, Christ issues commands (to bring the children), angrily rebukes the disciples and demonstrates how to be a spiritual father.  Divine Priest, Christ establishes the foundation for infant baptism and confirms the priestly action of the laying on of hands in blessings.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Contrary to the false “gentle Jesus meek and mild” regularly promoted by those who attempt to feminize Him, Christ angrily rebukes His disciples when warranted. Consider your own thoughts and acts than might draw Christ’s righteous and angry rebuke.

2) Christ reveals that men must become humble and childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Reflect on the Father (CCC 2777-2802) and pray for Christ to help you grow in humility and love for the Father.

3) As Christ demonstrates, while some men are biological fathers, every Catholic man is to be a spiritual father. Review the Catechism’s teaching on infant and adult baptism (CCC 1246-1255) and pray for Christ to use you to bring many souls to Him in baptism.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead