Homily for Saturday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Over the last several days now, there has been a consistent theme, a common thread in our Gospel readings about embracing this childlike nature in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It has been there almost every day this week. As I was praying yesterday and reflecting on these readings, I really found myself drawn to consider the faith of children. I was reminded of a story someone shared with me once.
In a town in the northeast, a priest (Fr. Pat, we’ll call him) was sitting in his office one day looking out his window when he noticed a little boy entering into the Church. Fr. Pat didn’t think anything of it at first. But as time went on, he noticed that the little boy would come every day around the same time. He would enter the church for a few minutes and then leave. But every time he left, the boy would run away from the doors and wave. One day, Fr. Pat thought he was going to go out and talk to the boy. So the next day, he planned to be in the Church when the boy arrived. Right on schedule, the boy came into the Church, reverently removed his baseball hat, walked down the center aisle, and knelt on the step of the sanctuary. Little did he know that Fr. Pat was watching from the back of the Church. After a few minutes of kneeling on the step, the boy stood up, made the Sign of the Cross, genuflected, and began to walk out of the Church. That’s when Fr. Pat emerged from hiding.
Fr. Pat introduced himself to the boy who then told him that his name was Jimmy. He inquired about what Jimmy was praying about. Jimmy told him: “Father, I stop into Church on my way home from school every day to just say hi to Jesus. I talk to him about my day and ask him to watch over my little brother and my mom and dad. I tell him when I’m happy or sad, share with him jokes that I heard in school, and sometimes ask him to help me with my homework or on tests.” Amazed at what he heard, Fr. Pat thanked Jimmy for coming to see Jesus every day and encouraged him to keep it up, that the Church would always be open for him. Jimmy thanked Fr. Pat and the two walked out of the Church. As Jimmy got to the doors, he said thank you to Fr. Pat, put his baseball cap back on, and began running away. As he got passed the portico of the Church building, Jimmy turned his head back, waved, and yelled: “See you tomorrow, Jesus!”
That’s the faith of a child: bringing our hearts to the Lord, sharing with him about our day, laughing with him, crying with him, and asking for help with a test. Is that the kind of faith you and I have? If it is, may we ask the Lord to never let us lose it. If it isn’t, let’s ask Him to make it so today.