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Thursday, May 23, 2024 14pm

If not you will become like children

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We have dedicated ample space to children in this issue La St. Crusade, to participate, with our means, in the beautiful initiative of Pope Francis, who announced the first World Children's Day in Rome on 25 and 26 May 2024. Don Gabriele Cantaluppi explicitly writes about this "day" (p. 20-21 ), as both the cover and the large opening photo refer to it (p. 2-3) and finally, indirectly but intentionally, my article is for children (p. 12-13 ) on the “Friends (or Heralds) of Saint Joseph”, the section of the Pious Union of the Transit of Saint Joseph made up of children and young people.

The aim was to recall and reflect on the privileged place that children have in the Gospel. Jesus points them out as an example for his disciples (and for us): "Truly I say to you, unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3). The note from the evangelist Mark is also moving. which recalls Jesus' embrace of one of them: «He took a child and placed him in the middle and, embracing him, said...» (Mk 9, 36). An embrace of Jesus and a divine love that Saint Pius ): «With what love of predilection Jesus Christ (Quam singular Christus love...) loved children on earth, is clearly attested in the pages of the Gospel."

Every initiative to lead children to Jesus is therefore very appropriate. It is always necessary to obey the word of the Lord: "Let the children come to me and do not hinder them" (Mk 10, 14). Blessed therefore is World Children's Day! But does all this say something to us adults, perhaps to us who are advanced in years? An elderly man, Nicodemus, expressed his doubts to Jesus; meeting him at night, he made an explicit objection: "How can a man be born when he is old?" (Jn 3,4). Almost as if to tell him that proposing to adults something specific to children didn't make sense.

Jesus replied to Nicodemus: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Therefore it is in the "birth from water and Spirit" that the way to become a child again even when you are old is realized. And this is not a pious exhortation, but something necessary! Jesus goes so far as to say that if one does not become children again through this "birth", one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, one cannot go to Heaven.

In this "birth", in the water of Baptism (and then in the bread in the Eucharist; this is why Pius that child. Woe to us adults if we look for di cult actions, possible for adults but impossible for children! Instead, we must let ourselves be "taken into the arms" of Jesus, rediscovering the simple and easy embrace of Baptism and the Eucharist. Experienced in the same way in which they are received by children, these gifts also offer us adults the possibility of rebirth.

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