In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues the formation of his disciples by countering their rebuke of the parents bringing their children to Jesus. He tells them that the Kingdom of God belongs to such children and that, to enter that kingdom, one needs to accept it like a child. There are several reasons we could come up with to support this teaching. What came to my mind when I read this passage was my younger grandniece as a small child. If anyone showed her something new, her eyes would grow wider and sparkle, and her little body would quiver with excitement and joy as she exclaimed, “WOW!!!”

Such a deep sense of wonder is an important element of relationship with God as we mature in spirituality. It is as important for an older person as it is for a young one. In his later years, the Jewish Hasidic Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was deeply grateful to God, and he said to God, “I asked for wonder, and you gave it to me.”

—Fr. Joe Folzenlogen, S.J. is a pastoral minister and spiritual director in Cincinnati, OH, where he has long contributed to care for the poor and those in need.