There is a word in this Sunday’s gospel that bothers me. It is a tiny, seemingly inconsequential word… and yet it makes all the difference in the world. It is what our society is suffering from today – the devaluation of human life. When Mark recounts the scene for us, he uses the word “it,” when he refers to the child – not once but twice. Perhaps (?) this was done when the gospels were translated to English. Maybe it wasn’t Mark at all. Anyway, the IT just really jumped off of the page at me.
Thinking about this tiny word being used in reference to a child – Centuries ago, I may not have been as offended. Maybe it is precisely the way that children have been devalued in the last couple of generations that made me so sensitive to the little, unassuming pronoun.
As a person who has spent the last twenty-three years working with children for a living, I can attest to the fact that they are human beings with dignity. In fact, not only are they worthy of respect, but they are a gift – each and every one. I have found that the best way to get respect as a teacher is to treat the kids – not as friends – but as fellow human beings. When you treat them with a genuine caring and respect, that respect is almost always returned.
I also want to mention that tomorrow is the feast of one of my best heavenly friends, Padre Pio. He was a stigmatist bearing the wounds of Christ. He was a very humble friar who loved Jesus, defended the Blessed Sacrament, was a gifted confessor (He could tell you if you “forgot” to confess a sin) and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was also very obedient, even when it cost him dearly. Like Pope John Paul II, he suffered with such grace. He had many “spiritual children” while he was on earth, and continues to be a spiritual advocate from heaven.