In today’s Gospel we hear those well-known words of Our Lord: “Let the children come to me… for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Here is some of what “to such as these” means to me. Children are dependent on the love of their families and friends. Sure, they give us love and trust, and sweet hugs, and they make us smile and laugh, but they are really almost totally dependent on us.

I think Jesus is challenging us to recognize how dependent we are on God for everything, every breath we take, every beat of our hearts. Mary has this attitude in the Annunciation, when she says:”Let it be done unto me.” As Teilhard de Chardin points out in The Divine Milieu that Mary is actively receptive. She embraces the message, and recognizes that this is an awesome gift: to be the Mother of God.

Author, Kastanzakas, ends his novel, The Diary of a Country Priest with the dying, far from a pastorally effective priest, who says: What does it matter, everything is gift? And Cardinal Avery Dulles endorses Martin Luther’s insight, when he quotes him in a major address: “We are all beggars.”

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.