I often wonder what Jesus was getting at when he asked his disciple, “Who do you say that I am?” Was Jesus testing the waters, trying to figure out if the people and his friends understood the nature of his divinity? Was he trying to figure out if his rabble rousing was about to get him killed? Was he concerned with how his identity was formed by the community? Or was he simply wondering what people thought about him?
Today’s Gospel lesson, though not a traditional baptismal text, embodies the spirit of the sacrament: the ones bringing the children to Jesus are not necessarily parents; they are “people” moved to care for these little ones. This choice of language leads us to ask, if the adults bringing the children to Jesus are not their parents, then who are they? Why do these men and women stand up to the disciples for the sake of children that are not biologically theirs?
I always feel like using the mom card highlights some sort of gender defect. My husband was a work-at-home dad for three years, and he has been just as involved in the diaper changing, sick days and parent/teacher meetings as I have. But I always have a feeling that when a guy uses the parent card, people think, What a great dad. But when women use it, people think, What an inept worker.
With every cycle of our respiratory systems, we are sustained by the same intimate inspiration God exhaled into Adam’s muddy lungs. That breath permeates every cell of our being, nose to toes, invigorating our bodies and minds and souls until it is ready to be released, silently, from the same nostrils through which it came.
This is as ordinary as oxygen and carbon dioxide, and as extraordinary as spirit and miracle.
I just want my child to be happy." Parents say this so often that it has become an accepted explanation for why a child is doing something other than what the parents would have hoped. And, in one sense, it seems straightforward, particularly when we consider the alternative. Do we want our children to be unhappy? Depressed? Discouraged?
How do you learn to think about the long-range implications of issues in a culture that is fixated on the short term? This question kept recurring to me in the midst of very different conversations recently.