During this Advent we’ve focused our homilies on the Sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony, asking the Lord to give us the grace to be renewed in the Faith, in our Church family, and in our families at home, that we might center our Church life around the Eucharist and our families around God. The mission of the Catholic Church is to spread the Gospel to all peoples and to give an example of God’s love, especially through service to those who are most in need. I believe that the most important job of the Catholic parish in fulfilling this mission is to give you and your families the support you need to live out the faith to the full through the Mass, the other Sacraments, prayer, learning the faith, and growing in virtue and holiness. What better time of the year to refocus ourselves on Jesus Christ than when we’re preparing to celebrate His birth?
Jesus said to His disciples, “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me” (Mt. 18:3-5). We can take that to mean many things; that we should be innocent, free from malice, or honest, or not wanting to have honor and distinctions. All of these are certainly true and very good, but what does it truly mean to be humble like a child is humble? It doesn’t mean naïve, as the Lord certainly wants His disciples to understand the ways of the world, if only so they can avoid them.
What distinguishes childhood from adolescence from adulthood is how much we depend on our parents and other people to take care of us. Adults are those who are now able to take care of themselves, to speak for themselves legally, and, eventually, to take care of their own families. Teenagers and pre-teens are learning how to take care of themselves, how to discipline themselves, and how to provide for themselves, but they aren’t all the way there yet. Children, especially babies, are totally dependent on their parents. They depend on them for clothes, shelter, food, transportation, and, especially, love.
We must become like little children in regards to God. We have to realize that we are totally dependent on God for our lives, for our faith, and for everything good, because God is the source of everything that is good. Take the example of the saints. Saints aren’t people who never sinned or even, necessarily, who did great things or worked great miracles. The saints are people who realized their littleness next to God and depended on Him for everything. This didn’t make them wallflowers who were afraid to try anything; it made them daring and bold, because they knew that God was at their side. Consider St. Joseph Cho Yun-ho, a son of a Korean farmer. His family was Christian and he became a catechist, helping to spread the faith to other Koreans. He was arrested with his father and other Christians, refused to deny Christ, and was martyred by the Korean government on December 23, 1866. He was only 18 years old. He and the other Korean martyrs helped to sow the seeds of the faith in that country. May we humble ourselves before God, become like little children, and help sow the seeds of the faith in our country and our families.
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.