Newtown, Connecticut

O, little children,

   may we find you in heaven,

      laughing and loving.

This haiku, written by my 33-year-old grandson to share his grief over the loss of the dear children at the elementary school in Newtown reminds me of two contrasting Scriptures. First, “Herod, realizing he had been outwitted by the Magi [and not caring about children], gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under. A voice, weeping and great mourning, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Second, Jesus saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in. He took them in his arms, put his hands on them, and fervently gave them his divine favor.” In doing so, he personified the Hebrew customary act of the father blessing the children.

Jesus, showing his caring attitude toward children, used them as examples of, not their innocency or humility, but their spirit of openness to receive and their dependence on others for daily provisions and care.

This simple but profound warning, unless we accept the kingdom of God with the spirit of a child’s dependence and abandonment, we will eternally miss out on that “laughing and loving” in heaven.

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