Saints Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, Priest, Martyrs
Deuteronomy 31:1-8; (Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:3-4, 7-9, 12; Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.” (Matthew 18:10)
A man once walked onto the beach for a morning stroll only to find thousands upon thousands of starfish stranded on the sand. Looking around, he was overwhelmed by the sight. What could he do to save all these little creatures? But then he saw another man picking up starfish, one by one, and throwing them back into the water.
“What are you doing?” he called out. “You can’t help them all!”
“Well, I helped that one!” answered the second man, as he threw another one into the ocean.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus directs our attention to the care and protection of children, but just a quick glance at the statistics might leave us feeling very much like the first man overwhelmed by the stranded starfish. Every year, approximately 5 million children suffer and die from malnutrition around the world. Another 5.5 million are victims of forced labor and the child sex trade. This year alone, more than ten million babies were aborted around the world, and in the United States, as many as ten million more are exposed to domestic violence every year.
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? Still, every single one of these children is precious to Jesus. They are not statistics to him; their angels are constantly in the presence of God. We may not be able to turn the global tide, but we still can help!
But where do I start? Look for a local charity that cares for abused children, and see if you can volunteer some time, Donate to a food bank that helps hungry families. Read articles or books about the plight of children around the world and share what you have learned with your parishioners. You may end up starting a new ministry! You could also find an organization that matches mentors with young people in the community who need support or guidance. And most important, dedicate your prayer once a week to the needs of children around the world.
Right now, make one attainable goal to do something—anything that helps children. Remember that whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Jesus.
“Lord, never let me forget your little ones.”~wau