Online Prayer Book - page 8

Memorial of St. Francis Xavier
Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Luke 10:21-24
The prophet Isaiah foretells the coming of a child who will bring almost indescrib-
able peace, creating a world where the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the
baby shall play by the cobra?s den. In Luke, Jesus recognizes that his message
eludes the wise and the learned, but is revealed to the childlike. These two pas-
sages challenge us to let go of our cynicism and worldliness, and embrace the
faith of a child ? pure, simple, and new.
Many childrens? books feature animals as the main characters: think Winnie the
Pooh, Peter Rabbit, the Berenstain Bears, and anything by Richard Scarry. Chil-
dren respond to animals because they are cute, furry, and more on their level
than the authoritarian adults who make the rules and order them around. The
animals in children's books all get along, no matter if they are wolves, baboons,
or bears. They don?t fight or prey on each other, as species do in the real word.
It?s obviously a sanitized, idealistic vision of society, but we want our children to
view life this way. We want them to stay innocent, to accept diversity, and trust
in the basic goodness of our fellow creatures.
In today?s Gospel reading, Jesus praises God for hiding the truth of his teachings
from the 'wise and learned, and revealing them instead to the childlike. Later,
he blesses the eyes and ears of his disciples for seeing and hearing what many
prophets and kings were unable to perceive. Jesus points out that a childlike na-
ture is essential to grasp his call to love one another.
As we get older, our life experiences color the
way we see reality. We accumulate opinions,
prejudices, and bad habits, like layers of dead
skin building up on top of each other. We be-
come calloused to the needs of others and often
find it hard to accept new ideas. The more suc-
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