Today’s Gospel carries two very important messages: one about marriage, the other about bringing children to the Lord.

Now, there is much to say about either subject. But if I write about marriage, this reflection could be even longer than last week’s 700 words. So indulge me, if you will, as I focus briefly only on the latter and the message it suggests to me.

In the second part of the Gospel, Mark writes that the people were bringing children to Him for them to be merely blessed by Jesus. His disciples scolded them, and Jesus rebuked the disciples and welcomed the children with warm embrace.

Like our Teacher, we should welcome all children, the born and the unborn. We must create for them an environment of safety, affection and nurturing. Jesus says that the Kingdom of God belongs to “such as these.” He is referring to the innocent, the trusting, the needy. At various times in our lives, we are all children and we have encountered children of all ages.

Anyone who welcomes a child in Jesus’ name, welcomes Jesus. And anyone who welcomes Jesus, welcomes the One who sent Him.

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