Monday after Oculi Sunday
Scripture: St. Luke 18:15-30 (NKJV)
18:15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
“They also brought infants to [Jesus]…” The word here for infant is ?????. It does not mean simply small children but, in fact, those who do not walk or talk yet. There may also have been toddlers and small children there, but at least some of those who were brought to Jesus were babes in arms. The parallel text in Mark 10:16 says, “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”
We also know what Jesus says about these infants. He says “of such is the kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is made up of those like the infants He was blessing. The implication is that infants can be part of the kingdom of God, but how can that be since infants lack reasonable thought? Faith can work on other parts of our cognition, such as emotion and intuition, long before language and reasoning are present. Infants can have faith before their ability to reason.
Jesus speaks of the “little ones who believe in Me” (Mark 9:42), and John the Baptist leapt in the womb of Elizabeth at the presence of Jesus. Therefore, we should not doubt our Lord’s ability to give faith to the infant, to the senile, to the retarded. Neither severe brain trauma, nor the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease can strip us of faith, even if they strip us of reason. Our Lord has provided a way of saving faith for all.
Prayer: We beseech Thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of Thy humble servants and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.