Good Zeal

Whoever Receives Me…

A child smelling a flowerDoing Lectio one morning this week, I was struck by the use of the pronoun, “it” for a child in Mark’s Gospel, “Taking a child, he placed it in their midst.” I had never noticed this before, or rather, it flowed past me as I focused on other things.

My visceral reaction was, “No! A child is a human being—not an it.” I realize this construction is the only option in our language when we do not know the child’s gender. A child can be referred to as it, but a boy is him, and a girl is her.

So, what do I make of the fact that this verse struck me? If this is God’s message for me, what do I do with it? I was an early childhood teacher many years ago, but I am not often around children now. I am not around children, but a child is human, and I am around other humans regularly. Are there times that I take them for granted? Do I give them the respect and care that their dignity as human beings demands? If I am honest I have to say no. I try but do not always succeed. Perhaps God is nudging me to pay more attention to the way I relate to people around me.

Jesus goes on to say in the same story in Mark, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives… the one who sent me.”

By Sister Karen Ann Lortscher, OSB

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