At the beginning of this gospel, Jesus reminded his listeners of what God’s original plan was for marriage. A man and a woman were to be united and live as one. It was simple. But as relationships developed, marriage must have been as complicated then as it is now because Moses had to make concessions for the people.
Scholars still struggle with the words of Jesus in this gospel because imperfect relationships continue to exist today. What is clear in this reading is that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must accept it as a gift. Children in ancient times as well as our own, depend entirely on their parents (or society) for their care. To children, everything is a gift because they can’t earn anything. That is how it must be for us if we are to accept the Kingdom of God.
Parents are accustomed to doing and giving, mostly for their children, but certainly for others as well. That is why the notion of today’s gospel is probably one of the hardest for parents to accept. Jesus clearly lets us know that the Kingdom of God is a gift, given to us freely by God. It isn’t something we can volunteer for, clip coupons for, or negotiate. Children, if we let them, will show us how freely and innocently we can accept this gift. Parents, pay special attention to your child(ren) over the next few days and see if you can pick up any of their wisdom about the gift God offers each of us.
Having healthy, loving relationships does not imply that there are no struggles. Often these struggles strengthen a relationship by softening our hearts. In such openness God is present, the kingdom of God is among us.