Homily July 19th, 2023 

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time – Option 2 – Mt 11:25-27

            Today’s brief Gospel presents us with Jesus rejoicing and addressing the Heavenly Father, and then, seemingly, His disciples. The Gospel hinges on the theme of childlikeness, and that God reveals Himself to the simple. Today, then, we can simply consider what this means: what does it mean to be childlike, and what does it mean, practically, for our lives?

So, what is does it mean to be childlike? “[Spiritual childhood] involves, above all, the recognition of our own nothingness. To remain a child, says St. Therese: ‘is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing. . . . To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God’s treasure.’”[1]

            What does this mean for our lives? Blessed Joseph Kentenich gives some interesting consequences: he writes that we have an “ontological necessity” to be childlike. “When we speak of childlikeness as an ontological necessity,” he writes, “we mean in our very beings, we need to be childlike. “God’s essence is simply fatherliness, both in being and in attitude. . . .  The essence of God is His fatherhood.”

            Kentenich continues by saying that fatherhood is relational; it requires a relation, two parties that are somehow joined. So, “if in His essence, God has adopted the being and attitude of fatherliness, then in his essence man must adopt the being and attitude of childlikeness. The necessity of childlikeness corresponds to the essence of fatherliness. My fundamental attitude towards the great God must therefore be the attitude of childlikeness. You will find that this gives us a firm anchor from which you can draw an exceedingly clear line through the storms of our times. Because of this we cannot just say that my attitude toward God is one of submission . . . of being a servant or slave of God. No, our primary attitude toward God – if His essence is that of a father – is that of being a child.”

            Kentenich notes that this is the attitude we must have if God is to work with us: “If God is to show His formative strength, His educational formative power, His fatherly kindness, His fatherly riches, He must be moved to do so by human helplessness and the desire to be formed. . . .  For God to be able to open to us His infinite riches and to show His educational formative power, there must be a corresponding openness and receptivity” on our part. Hence, “to reconquer the sense of childlikeness is the greatest blessing we can present to humanity today.” Thus, in our lives, we can ask ourselves: how well do we live out this attitude of childlikeness? What is our attitude towards God the Father: is it like that of a child towards His loving Father, or are we afraid?

            Today, then, let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Model of Holiness,  for the grace to really become children of God, to turn to Him in all our needs, and to trust in His love for us.


[1] Citing in Fr. Fuentes, Trust in God.

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