This past summer I got to baptize my granddaughter in Florida and that was very cool! Since we were already in Florida, two of my kids convinced me to take them to Disney for a few days. We went, but we had a deal that was important. Work around that time was particularly hectic and I wanted to be able to relax so we made the following deal. As long as I didn’t have to think or make decisions, we could go, and I would pay. However, when we were there, if I had to make decisions or think, they would have to start paying. Fair deal, right? Most of the time we were there, it worked out great; they decided what park we would go to each day, they would make the ride reservations, and arrange the meals. A couple of times though they could not agree on where to go next or where to eat so they would ask me, and I would say, “Careful! I am starting to think and might make a decision! And that means you’re about to start paying! You don’t want that do you?” And they would say, “No, no!” and quickly make a decision without me.
So that visit to Disney was, for me, relaxing because I could pretty much just be a kid and trust them to worry about all the details. By surrendering to what they wanted to do and their decision making, we all had a great time.
Now in the Gospel today, we heard Jesus talk about being childlike in our life and relationship with the Father. You see, the Sadducees were trying to trick him into saying something that would pit him against either them or the Pharisees, but he turned the tables instead and talked about the importance of being children of God.
Children of God, what does that even mean? Well let’s think about this together. Think back to when you were a child. When we were young, we looked to our parents for everything – for guidance, love, support, protection, food, clothing, shelter… everything. Our parents guarded us, protected us and did all these things for us… and we were happy. Our life was simple, we worried a lot less and we were joyful with the simple things in life. We trusted our parents, we surrendered all the decision making to them and turned to them to help us solve our problems… and that is what God wants us to do with him to be his children.
OK, but we are aren’t kids anymore – we have real worries, real anxieties, our kids are looking to us to protect them so how can we be children at the same time? God isn’t asking us to abandon our adult duties and go around acting like we don’t have any responsibilities. But he is asking us to think of Him as our Father and turn to him just like we turned to our parents. In this Gospel, Jesus says that those who rise with him at the end of time will be children of God and the key to be invited to that resurrection is to be his children while we are here on earth.
So, how do we do that? How do we become his children while still being teenagers, parents, or grandparents? I think it is simple, but, it takes action on our part. First, we just need to ask him to help us be his children, to be humble, loving, caring and all the other things he asks of us in scripture. Second, and this is harder, is to surrender to him. By that I mean to surrender our worries, our anxieties and our problems to him… every time. He wants us to do that! He wants us to turn to him in our times of trial because he will help us every time! And by surrendering to him it is easier to not only live the life he wants us to live, but life itself becomes easier to cope with, we are more joyful, and we have more hope. And finally, by doing this we express and demonstrate our trust in our Father. And that is what he says to us: trust in me. And by doing that we are more childlike, not trying to solve our problems on our own, but turning to our Father for the help we so desperately need.
In the Gospel today, Jesus says about us at the resurrection, “They can no longer die, for they will be like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” Our formula to be a child of God at the resurrection is to be His children while we are alive here on earth. And for that, we share in His love, joy, grace and peace. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me!