Our little parts in miracles

We all play a part in the miracles that happen in the life of family, friends and even strangers. We can if we want to. Are miracles rare? Changing water into wine is. But the Epiphany, the revelation of God in our life, isn’t. It happens all the time, every moment, and is most visible in acts of love, in mercy and compassion. God’s presence amidst us is no less a miracle, and we are invited not only to see for ourselves, but to also let others see, through our acts in life.

“Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine.” (Sunday’s Gospel)

We each have a God-given role in life. Often this role is a selfless role. It helps others, the community around us. Our role is often not spectacular. God does not call us to do very difficult things. Often, they are simple ordinary roles, maybe seemingly insignificant to us, without that attention-giving glory, so small that we tend not to bother for it being not worthy of our time and attention. But it is in community, the people around us, where we see the perpetual miracle of God revealing himself to us. This pandemic has repeatedly taught us that we are all in this together.

“There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.” (Sunday’s second reading)

Our role for a good purpose is often as simple as that of the servants to fill up the jars with water, a skill not beyond us. In the story, Mary was the intercessor who did not know how it would happen. The steward, like us many times, unknowing that he was part of a miracle. We are never called to work alone but always as part of a community, each with a different part, but the sum of all parts is the miracle of God revealing himself.

Last Wednesday, the reading was about God calling Samuel. We too are called every day to play a part in the miracles of life. To understand our roles, a friend in our community shared an excerpt from the reflection of the Word Among Us for that day.

“The calling of Samuel reminds us that we aren’t alone in our efforts to understand God’s call. He gives us brothers and sisters in Christ who can use their different gifts to help us hear and accept it. That means that none of us individually needs to try and discern God’s will for our lives on our own. God has united us as a body of believers, some of whom are meant to accompany and guide us on our faith journey. The Lord works through these friends, spiritual directors, and confessors to help us to “see” so that we can know and follow his will for every season of our lives.

So, if you are trying to discover what God might be saying to you, you may get clarity through the help and prayers of another believer. Sometimes God wants us to rely on others just so that we can have more confidence in his direction and guidance. Not only that, but he uses these opportunities to knit us closer to one another.”

At mass this Sunday, our homilist shared that in the liturgical cycle, this gospel of the wedding feast at Cana is the third epiphany, the revealing of God. He invited us to reflect on our life with these questions, “How do we reveal God? What sort of God do we want to reveal in reality? And what do we want to present to our world as the epiphany of God?

We are invited to allow for the passage of miracles through our life, and when we do so, our ordinary becomes spectacular, our water becomes wine.

At the church in Holy Land, where the miracle of the wedding feast took place. It is believed that jars such as this were used in Jesus’ time. A lot of good wine!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

In water and Spirit

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. It marks the end of the liturgical Christmas season and Jesus prepares to enter his public ministry. Today’s feast must also remind us about our own baptism. I once remarked to a well-respected priest, “Though the mass is always full, there are many whose faces are blank, like they wished they were somewhere else”. To which he replied, “What you must admire is that these people keep coming back every week. Why? Because there is untold strength and power in baptism being a sacrament”.

There have always been questions about our obligatory Sunday mass. It should be our free choice; ‘we come when we want’. This pandemic may have given us some answers. Some of us felt a sense of loss when masses were no longer public. After which we embraced online masses with a lot of enthusiasm but after going on for a year, we found we are no longer disciplined. Now, we can go back for mass, but some find it difficult to. Being human, we will always need a push, sometimes even regimented for our own good.

When we are baptised, we embraced our identity as a child of God. In this identity is the adoption of a belief; we believe in the doctrines and the Christian expression of life. This ‘expression’ is our own public ministry. We are missioned to bring Christmas, this presence of God coming amidst human life, into our everyday life with others. In this identity, in our belief, there must be responsibilities. Here in them, our free choice must always cooperate with God’s will.

We are called, obliged to come for Sunday mass for our own good. It is not an attendance list where if we fail, we are chalked off into the fire of everlasting damnation. Each Sunday we enter the mass as equals, regardless of what status we hold in the outside world, reminded by our baptism that we are a child of God. Here we regroup, recalibrate our spirituality that has taken a bashing in our worldly life. We reconcile with one another and with God, listen to the Word of Wisdom, and eat the Body and Blood in the Sacrament to renew our strength, to be recharge and be sent (ite missa est) back into the world.

Sunday mass is a point of return, to re-embrace our baptismal identity, whether after a week or a lifetime. When we drifted away, this is the most identifiable, tangible point of return. Returning Catholics, those who have been away from their faith life, see this as a reference point. What they cannot see and may not know, if it is not pointed out to them, is the undertow in their spiritual identity as a Child of God, a pulling force that in time bring them back home.

I had the privilege to encounter a woman in her 70s, a Catholic who had been away for more than 30 years. Her children were all active in other Christian denominations, one even a pastor. She had been living much of her ‘public ministry’ admirably with her children. She said to me, “It is time to come back”. “Why?” I asked, as she had known and celebrated God in her life. To which she replied, “I was baptised in the Catholic Church, and into her I must return”.

The grace of our baptism; its untold strength and power.

Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord 2022

Gratitude, the game changer

A new year has begun, and familiar anxieties have set in. These ‘usual blues’ are now compounded by Omicron. Gone are my days of innocence when a new year bring fresh hope and joy. I supposed I am not the only one. ‘What gifts will this year bring?’ Someone reminded me over our festive celebrations to feast on gratitude.

Gratitude can be our game changer. It can be the star that rises above every gift we crave for in life. Gratitude can be our guiding star. Over every Christmas season, we are not promised gifts of earthly riches but of love, peace, joy, and hope. Having experience life with its sting in its tail, these are lasting gifts. They last because over time, they evolve to become inner calm and contentment; fool-proof gifts that protect us from our anxieties in life.

Gratitude helps to uncover the many unseen blessings in our life however wretched we may think life to be. Gratitude breeds contentment. Life is allowed to turn sour when we keep chasing in the dark for what we desperately want, or think we need that will make us happy. Feast on gratitude, she said, by spending time in meditation. ‘Who’ we already are will shine light on the darkness of our desires and fears.

Part of anxiety is fear. Fear is being afraid of something bad that may happen to us. Anxiety displaces us from our here and now. It pushes us into a tomorrow that is yet to happen. Often that fearful tomorrow never comes. I have been through many anxieties, many Monday and New Year blues, but looking back hardly any became the frightening monster it threatened to become. Contemplating, sitting in the here and now helps.

It is in the here and now that love is felt, peace found, and joy experienced. In them hope arises to replace fears. The presence of the Infant Child can only be encountered and felt in the present. It is not for yesterday or tomorrow. God is “I AM” present in the here and now. Gratitude can be the antidote to anxieties.

These gifts have been brought to all of us by the Infant Child, to believers and non-believers in equal portions. Here in non-Christian Thailand, it is nice to see so many people celebrate the joys of Christmas especially in its tradition of bearing gifts to one another. It is in our relationships with one another where these gifts are manifested.

The past week of Christmas and New Year celebrations allowed us to situate ourselves in the here and now. In that week of festivities and cheers, few wanted to dwell in the past or worry about the future. We were all just filled with gratitude.

And gratitude must be the star to lead us on our journey in life, our journey of faith like that of the wise men. The festive cheers have toned down, but we must continue to feast on gratitude.

“A silent wish sails the seven seas. The winds of change whisper in the trees. And the walls of doubt crumble, tossed and torn. This comes to pass when a Child is born.”

The Epiphany of our Lord and New Year 2022

Gradual Revelation

Christmas is here. Yet again. When the first Christmas came along, the Old Testament became New Testament. Salvation history took a twist; our idea of who God is radically changed. Since that first time, Christmas never left us. We all accumulate our own personal history as we march through life. At some point during our history, we encountered Christ, our own personal idea of God changed. That would have been our own first Christmas.

I like to watch the sun rising. The sun gradually reveals itself. Darkness becomes light. Like the cycle of a day, the lights do sometimes go out of our life even when we have found God. But like the sun the following morning, light will again rise above darkness. This will go on throughout our life but with each sunrise, we gradually know God better.

We are always tempted to try different paths in life, sometimes we even choose to go solo without God. At each cul-de-sac, we gradually learn about our God. From our human point of view, God is gradually revealing himself to us.

Does God hold back to reveal himself to us? No. He is Emmanuel, always in our midst. Christmas does not leave us. But we sometimes cannot see or feel him simply because of the circumstances or situations of life that we find ourselves in. We are human which is why on that first Christmas Day he became human like us. God is active in our midst, working hard to make us see Him. He came down on Earth with the sole purpose to draw us closer to Him.

We sometimes cannot see God, like the sun hidden behind storm clouds. Maybe it is happening more these days with changing lifestyles that take us further away from any religion. It seems God must work hard to stay relevant for us. Our worldly life is dynamic, always modernising and high tech, human expressions constantly evolving to the extent that the world wants to leave God behind to progress on. We, humanity, have always done that since the Old Testament, throughout our salvation history. But He keeps coming back for us.

The world is always evolving. It must. As persons, we adjust and adapt. We try to keep up with the changes. We need to. But often we get lost. Christmas has come around once again to remind us that God accompanies us through all these changes. He is amidst these evolutions. He is not losing control. There is only one thing that never changed throughout history and that is God’s Love. It is the one constant. What changed are expressions of God and his love. Our God is never old fashioned or conservative. We must find new ways in our life, new expressions to uncover him from behind our clouds. He is waiting to be revealed.

Every sunrise brings on a new day and with it love, mercies and graces are new again. God is always in our midst. Christmas never went away. As we move anxiously on, into a new year amidst the pandemic, we remind ourselves that it all began in that humble stable in Bethlehem. Today, and tomorrow, in the here and now, it continues in the humble stable of our hearts. That is where we carry Christmas on our daily journey and that is where God will reveal himself to us. May that sun in us rise above the clouds. Merry Christmas.

Christmas 2021

Sweet innocence

I had the joy of encountering this young child on my travels this week. Together with her kid brother, they were making themselves a mobile phone each. Cut to size from cardboard, they drew the dial pad on paper and gummed it on. They were happy with their new phones. It was a great moment of my here and now to share in their joy. Such sweet innocence.

The face of this child became my Advent image. My heart wandered momentarily away from that moment feeling a sense of pity for them, “if only they can have more”. “More of what?”, I asked myself. By what, and whose standard am I gauging their happiness that I should have the gall to feel sorry for them? They were already in their bubble of perfect happiness. Wishing they had more was like pricking and bursting their bubble of joy.

As adults our bubbles of this sort have long burst. We do not remain a child forever. We grow into responsibilities, and with them come challenges. “Too many” most of us would say for a lifetime. Ideals give way to being practical. Being sweetly innocent may result in being left behind by the world. Our emotional journey in life can take us up mountains of hardships and down valleys of depression. Or they can take us up beautiful mountains of joy and down into serene valleys of peace.

“I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.” (Today’s second reading)

So, Christmas is very near. Adults and children approach Christmas very differently. As adults, we also see the practical side and are concern with cost. As tired adults, after yet another tough year, we see it as an excuse for a year end bash. As anxious adults, before we even celebrate Christmas, our minds are already cast into another new year of work and performance. But Christmas does offer all of us something different. The gift is there for everyone, but we must each unpack the gift.

Christmas is real. For some it may only be a moment of joy. For others a day or even a week. But the spiritual reality is a lifetime of joy. Our celebrations can take us far away from the true meaning of Christmas, or it can lead us to the deep depths of what this gift really is. Emmanuel, the Lord is very near, God is in our midst.

We believe. But a declaration of belief isn’t quite enough to feel and see this spiritual reality of a lifetime of joy. We must grow in this belief like a child grows into an adult through the mountains and valleys of our earthly journey.

Christmas comes around once a year to invite us into a spiritual bubble that will help and protect us as we travel through life. To enter this bubble, we must humble ourselves to have the sweet innocence to allow God to be our God.

3rd Sunday of Advent

Two kingdoms, two worlds

Today we celebrate a new liturgical year. Last Sunday we were closing the old year with the celebration of Christ the King. Jesus answered Pilate, “Mine is not a kingdom of this world”. Yet often we hear that the “kingdom of God is in our midst”. Today is the first day of Advent, a season to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus into our midst. Lurking in the dark recess is Omicron. Good and bad. Two kingdoms, two worlds.

How do we make sense of this? One of the greatest challenges to our Christian faith is the existence of suffering. If God exists, and is a God of Love, why is there suffering? In this world we live in, suffering inevitably exists. In the kingdom that is promised us, every tear will be wiped away. When we want to build kingdoms for “myself” at the expense of others, we deny the establishment of a world where love is the answer. Two kingdoms, two worlds; riches of the earth versus treasures in heaven.

St Paul to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race. We urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. (Second Reading)

God has allowed this pandemic, and with it the sufferings that come with it. The beginnings of this pandemic and its subsequent spread is a consequence of human action. This is not a debate of what we should or should not have done. That is beyond me, or us as single human individuals. This is just about acknowledging that every single person has the complete freedom to choose to do what he or she wants. Whatever we do has a knock-on effect on the other person. But as single, human individual person it is not beyond us to choose to love one another and the whole human race.

In Advent, we are preparing for the coming of Christ into our choices and subsequent actions. Sufferings can be alleviated by love. We dare say that some sufferings can be avoided if there was love, the love for the other not that love for self. This kingdom is in our midst, and near at hand. Advent is this preparation to let this kingdom come into our world.

St Paul to the Thessalonians continued, “You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus”.

A new liturgical year arrive with a fresh cycle of scripture readings. Instructions on the authority of Christ the King. Instructions we must allow into the use of our freedom, to come into the small and simple acts of our daily life. We are human and we progress by taking small steps. This Advent is a preparation for Christmas. Let this Christmas define our whole year ahead, so we can make the choice to allow the Word amongst us to come alive in our little actions, where love will comfort suffering, allowing the kingdom into our world.

What menace will Omicron turn out to be for our world? What kingdoms will it destroy? We do not know. We only have the power to love. But it is enough to build a kingdom that is not of this world.

1st Sunday of Advent

Life has no straight roads

Today’s mass readings are about what happens at the end of the road. The readings came alive as I travelled this week from Mae Sot to Umphang. Route 1090 is nicknamed “the death highway”. A long stretch ascends into the mountains where for 114 km of it there are 1219 bends, curving to the left and the right. Just like our life, there are no straight roads.

“Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace.” (First Reading)

This pandemic has taught me to appreciate road trips as arriving at destinations do have a different emotional feel. It’s the wisdom that the journey changes us by the time we arrive, for in our belief there is a fork at end of the road of our earthly life either to everlasting life or disgrace.  

Route 1090 took me up and took me down. The road was also slipping sideways. At stretches the view was breath taking, but most of it was mundane and arduous, curving and cutting through the thick rainforest. The road was narrow, and the mountain bends did not permit me to see what was further ahead. I knew my destination but not my journey. Death beckons all but how will we reach it?

Last weekend I was privileged to be at a retreat for returning Catholics. There I heard many different life stories. Like the road, things can suddenly change around the next bend. Some heard the call to return at the low points in life, few at the highs and others during the mundane grind of daily life where they wondered about life’s meaning. But all had a common realisation that God is faithfully present with us along the entire journey. At each bend he beckons us closer. If we ignore the call he will be at the next, 1219 and more till we respond.

At the end of route 1090, a trek through the rainforest awaited me. It was advertised that it would take 2 hours, but I realigned my expectation that it would take me 3. In painful reality, it took me 5 but the reward at the end was worth every ounce of energy. I had never before exhausted my physical energy for an event. Here in that last hour, and in darkness as well, I was on the Spirit that formed my mind.

When the trek was uphill, I did not want to see how much higher was the climb. I just focus on my next step but I found myself mumbling the Hail Mary every time it went uphill. My mortality was in better perspective. Like suffering in life, we don’t know how long it will last but prayers help us to the top of the hill. Sometimes it is even a false top as round the bend we see a steeper slope. Such is life.

As the trek when downhill, I felt pain in my old crumbling knees. I was alive to the very present as the pain would not allow me to wander elsewhere. In life at our lowest points, when we cannot see anyone but our own self, we must know that God is there present. It was on the flats that my mind wandered and was distracted by the heaven of a cold beer at the end of the trek. The mundane happenings in our life can drift us away from God. Until we find meaning.

There are no straight roads in life. The better prepared we are for the road trip, the better people we become arriving at the fork. Along the way, like today’s scripture readings were to me, the Word is amongst us.

Route 1090 – the Death Highway

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The non-compete clause

There are many teachings in the Gospel in terms of how we should behave that go against the human grain. We all aspire to be great in life only to be told that to be great we must become a servant, where to be first we must be slave to all. When we reflect deeper on this passage, we realize that it is not wrong to aspire to be great. Every saint is great, Christ glorious! The message here is how we can go about attaining this greatness.

And many of these teachings seem to go against our nature. Competition amongst humans is natural. Competition leads to learnings and progress. It does make us better. The first disciples as we read in this passage were competitive. James and John, quite innocently, wanted the highest honor. When the rest found out they were indignant towards the pair. They were outraged because they felt James and John tried to sneak one behind them. They were all competitive; all wanting to be first and great.

I travelled this weekend and stopped at a coastal village. Two fishermen were mending their nets. They could have been James and John. Others were doing their own thing, some sizing up the clams, others trying to sell the catch. Was there competition here? There surely was. They had to compete to survive. My mind wandered to the time of the first disciples. Jesus had plucked them out of their jobs, and so they obviously came along with all they had learnt in life.

When we aspire to be greater in our faith life, we are responding to being called by Christ through the Holy Spirit. We are invited to be in glory. Like the disciples we will arrive at that moment with a lot of baggage accumulated throughout life. Like the fishermen sorting out the catch, some we must discard. We must keep the fire and passion that makes us competitive. It will teach and progress us towards greatness. Once we have encountered Christ, we will re-define what greatness of life is. Once that is re-defined, we will have to recalibrate our methods of attaining it.

Passages in the Gospel teaches us these methods. They are only unnatural because worldly life has shaped us to go the other way. Serving one another is also natural. I saw it at the coastal village as we would all see in the many events of our life. We have all serve and were served. We see it clearer when we live life against the odds or when the curve of affluence is much flatter.

Serving the other is second nature to true love. Every parent makes sacrifices at their own expense for their child. The greatest wish of any parent is actually not to be loved in return but to see their children pass on the love to others. This is natural too.

What do we want in life? Happiness, purpose, peace, and fulfilment? Because of our human nature we are not sure. We want our cake and eat it too. But our Creator who made us know the greatness and glory we truly want. He has also said that in his house there are many rooms. Competition in worldly life often mean one winner. In our faith, God wills all of us to be great and glorious. In the Gospel, he tells us the methods to attain it but emphasize the non-compete clause. We must serve one another.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cut both ways

Today’s Gospel passage, when taken plainly can make people shy away from religion. We are asked to give up all our material riches. For some, religion is a thing of the past. I ask myself if I prefer to die rich or in peace. I would want both. But if I were forced to choose, it would be peace. Without faith, or religion, death is the ultimate end; either does not matter. But when we ask the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, it is a ponder that comes from deep within, the voice of our soul.

“The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him” (Today’s Second Reading)

The word of God searches deep into us. We don’t need a religion or belief for that. No created being can hide from it. It searches deep into us, not to inflict a cut, but to draw out our true self who is essentially good to live with one another in this material world. We are all, without exceptions, this ‘good being’ for after all we are created in the likeness of God. This likeness of God is the desire and capacity to love. True love, God’s love, is to put others before self.

The double-edged sword cuts both ways. A blessing, and sometimes a torment. I am no scripture scholar and there are better understandings of its meaning. However, today we see the word of God being interpreted somehow to cast doubts over vaccinations. I am no medical expert either. And this is not an article for pro or anti vaxxers. But the question asked today is apt. When faced with the choice of being vaccinated, we should ask deep within our self, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

God gives us love. He showers it upon us even if we do not acknowledge it. This gift is constant, unconditional, and unlimited. We are rich with love. And apart from love, God also give us the freedom of choice. Freedom too is a double-edged sword. We first have the capacity then receive the freedom to love. Freedom too cuts both ways. We are consequences of our own action or inaction, and what others do or don’t will also affect our life. Likewise, when we think more for our self, it will negatively affect the other.

St Francis de Sales wrote on this holiness. Doing good in life because we want to inherit eternal life is of course very good. But there is a higher level of this holiness; we are driven to love so that the other gains salvation, without a thought of our own. I wrote a few weeks back about the spiritual exercise when applying sanitizers to our hands where we do it not first for our self but for the sake of the people around us. Being poor is spirit (Today’s acclamation) is to use love and freedom to choose the other first and surrender the consequences to God. The consequence here is to be repaid a hundred times over.

“I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside her silver ranks as mud.” (First Reading)

Live life with Wisdom. Pursue its richness. Who are we to others around us? It is how and what we choose to do with the love of God given to us that will determine if we cut it in life.

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Exit door ajar in marriage

For better or for worse, till death do us part. The proper marriage vow, a decision to unify a lifetime commitment between wife and husband. There are many good marriages out there that have abided by this vow, and they have become heart-warming testimonies of true love. A love that conquered seemingly insurmountable challenges and form the solid foundation of good family life. Children and youths thrive and grow in life to contribute to make the world a better place.

“Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table. May the Lord bless us all the days of our life.” (Today’s Psalm)

For some though this has become an old-fashioned romantic idea. It is more necessary to enter a prenuptial agreement than to solemnly vow before God to love one another, whatever happens. This love is the complete, mutual giving of oneself to the other, where two shall become one. “As long as we love one another God will live in us, and his love will be complete in us”. (Acclamation)

“This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.” (Today’s Gospel)

This vow is far from being a legal agreement but an invitation to God to be present in our marriage. We must surely understand that we cannot control every event that will happen in our shared life. This is an invitation to God in faith that his love will be with us through these many unexpected occurrences. Lasting the course often see adversities turning into joy.

However, one of such unexpected occurrences is that marriages do break up for a variety of unfortunate reasons. Although the commitment is broken between the two, the vow made before the altar of God remains. God remains faithful and does not judge nor condemn. He continues to be present to the couple through the next chapters of their life. Unseen, even misunderstood, his door is never shut.

Marriage is brave commitment, perhaps too brave without the help of God. It demands great human strength to be true to our words. We need that help. It is both spiritual and psychological. This is simplified: It is two people entering a room and closing its door accepting that there is no exit. An option to divorce is to leave that exit door ajar. A prenuptial agreement pushes that opening a little wider. We will always encounter disagreements. It is completely natural. When we are locked in that room with God, we know that working out an agreement is the only way. When we do, our giving to the other increases and love grows. A door ajar can often be the easier way out especially in the midst of anger and hurt. Closing that door should be that prenuptial agreement.

Simplified, yes. Marriage can still be a romantic, fairy tale full of love with a happy ending. Children believe in those. It will happen when we enter marriage innocent and child-like, giving without calculating, not knowing where the exit door is.

“‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time