Children Need Healing Protection

    The love and concern for her child shown by the Canaanite woman in today's Gospel is quite a contrast with what is happening today. One sub-freezing winter morning in Atlanta a baby was found wrapped in a blanket at the bottom of an apartment complex garbage dumpster. The child was taken to a hospital where nurses named him "Baby Snow." In the same year a woman discovered a new-born baby in a shopping bag lying against a hedge in Brooklyn. Are these rare instances?

    According to three leading sociologists, the American home is the most violent place in the country. They claim that one million kids are growing up with parents who physically abuse them. If parents would have the compassion of the Canaanite woman, they would have reason to nag Jesus for help.

    There is an incident reported as having happened during the China earthquake. After the earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman's house, they saw her body through the cracks. Her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees, leaning forward with her two hands supporting an object. The house had collapsed on her. With much difficulty, the rescue team got into the house. They were curious to know what she was protecting using her body as a cover. The team carefully removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a three-month-old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother's dead body.

    Obviously, the woman had made the ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up. Today's Gospel describes the depth of the love of a Canaanite woman for her sick daughter, which prompted her to use all her wits and insistence to get Jesus' healing attention.

    In this modern time, parents need to protect their children not only physically but also spiritually. They provide all that the children want such as iPad, iPhone, sports, dancing and other luxuries, but don't give that much importance to their spiritual growth. Many parents register their children for their faith formation classes, but seldom realize their responsibility in bringing their children for Sunday liturgy. They fail to understand that real faith formation begins at home.

    When the children are in the church, I often notice their unfamiliarity with Mass parts. The only way that they will truly understand what is happening in the Mass is by being in the church regularly. That understanding is evident in those children whose families are always here. Time spent helping them to grow spiritually will never be time wasted. When their faith has a strong foundation, they are able to withstand temptations and troubles as they mature. It could also bring them back, if they go astray.

    Today parents need to imitate the depth of the love and perseverance of the Canaanite woman for her sick daughter. It prompted her to use all her wits and insistence to get Jesus' healing attention. In the same way, I urge all parents to bring their children to Jesus for healing protection.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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