First reading Ezekiel 18:1-10,13,30-32

You, not your children, will suffer for your sins: so repent, and live

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows:
  ‘Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: “The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; and the children’s teeth are set on edge”?
  ‘As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – there will no longer be any reason to repeat this proverb in Israel. See now: all life belongs to me; the father’s life and the son’s life, both alike belong to me. The man who has sinned, he is the one who shall die.
  ‘The upright man is law-abiding and honest; he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the idols of the House of Israel, does not seduce his neighbour’s wife or sleep with a woman during her periods. He oppresses no one, returns pledges, never steals, gives his own bread to the hungry, his clothes to the naked. He never charges usury on loans, takes no interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between man and man, keeps my laws and sincerely respects my observances – such a man is truly upright. It is the Lord who speaks.
  ‘But if anyone has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, then this son shall certainly not live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will have to die, and his blood be on his own head.
  House of Israel, in future I mean to judge each of you by what he does – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!’
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 50(51):12-15,18-19

A pure heart create for me, O God.
 
A pure heart create for me, O God,
  put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
 
Give me again the joy of your help;
  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
  and sinners may return to you.
 
For in sacrifice you take no delight,
  burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
  A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

 

Gospel Matthew 19:13-15

Do not stop the little children coming to me

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
 
 
___________________________________
 

Let the little ones come to Me

In today’s Gospel, people brought little children to Jesus because they recognised Him as a man of God. They wanted the best for their children, so they brought them to Him so that He could lay His hands on them and say a prayer for them. However, His disciples turned them away. Perhaps they considered the little children as unimportant for Jesus to busy Himself with. When Jesus saw this, He rebuked His disciples and said, “Let the little children alone, and do not stop them from coming to me”. Jesus invites us constantly to come to Him and bring our loved ones to Him, even those whom we consider “unworthy” or “unimportant”.
 
“…for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs”. For Jesus, those who have little status in society and are considered unimportant in the world have a unique place in God’s heart. The invitation is for us to have eyes to recognise the weaker and insignificant ones in society and to have the compassion to welcome and care for them.
 
Reflection question:
What is Jesus’ message for me in this time of prayer?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.