THE LITTLE ONES
Jesus had no problems with the little ones of the people. He knew that they understood him. What concerned him was that someday the religious leaders, the specialists in the law, the great teachers of Israel would begin to grasp his message. Day by day it became more evident: what filled the little people with joy, left the leaders indifferent.
Those country folk who went about defending themselves from hunger and from the great landowners understood him very well: God wanted to see them happy, without hunger or oppressors. The sick trusted him, and enlivened by their faith, they again believed in the God of life. The women who dared to leave their houses to listen to him sensed that God had to love as Jesus says: with the heart of a mother. The little ones of the people were in harmony with him. The God he announced to them was the one they yearned for and needed.
The attitude of the «learned» was different. Caiaphas and the priests of Jerusalem saw him as a danger. The masters of the law didn’t understand how he was concerned so much about the suffering of the people that he forgot the demands of the religion. That’s why, among Jesus’ closest followers there were no priests, scribes or masters of the law.
One day, Jesus described for everyone what he felt in his heart. Full of joy, he prayed thus to God: «I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children».
It’s always the same. The gaze of the little ones is ordinarily more pure. There’s not much twisted interest in their heart. They go for what’s essential. They know what it is to suffer, to feel bad, and to live insecure. They’re the first ones who understand the Gospel.
These little ones are the best we have in the Church. We the bishops, theologians, moralists and those trained in religion must learn from them. God discovers for them something that eludes us. We church people run the risk of rationalizing, theorizing, and «complicating» the faith too much. Just two questions: why is there so much distance between our word and the life of the people? Why does our message almost always end up more obscure and complicated than that of Jesus?
Jose Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf