“I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ to me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment.” – Mother Teresa
Gospel Text: (MT 18:1-5, 10)
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
This gospel reminds me of a reflection by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh called The Cookie of Childhood:
"When I was four years old, my mother used to bring me a cookie every time she came home from the market. I always went to the front yard and took my time eating it, sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. I would take a small bite and look up at the sky. Then I would touch the dog with my feet and take another small bite. I just enjoyed being there, with the sky, the earth, the bamboo thickets, the cat, the dog, the flowers. I was able to do that because I did not have much to worry about. I did not think of the future. I did not regret the past. I was entirely in the present moment, with my cookie, the dog, the bamboo thickets, the cat, and everything. It is possible to eat our meals as slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood. ... We can eat in a way that we restore the cookie of our childhood."
This reflection by Thich Nhat Hanh reminds me that sometimes we are preoccupied by the past or looking towards the future rather than enjoying the moment of being in the here and now. How often are we like the child that can take his or her time to enjoy the sweet taste of a cookie without worrying too much about what has happened before or what will happen? Simply taking the time to enjoy those little things in life is often underrated or we don’t think we have time for them. But I can recall many times when those special moments have happened in my life and how at peace I felt because I was not worried about anything else but spent that time being fully dedicated to that moment.
I think that Jesus is calling us to be present to our here and now because the past has already happened and the future is yet to be. All we can do now is to live in this moment as fully as possible, just like a child does.
So with that, let us take time this day to fully enjoy a moment we are in. Sit outside with cookie or a cup of coffee. Sit with a friend during a break between classes or at work. Sit quietly with God. But whatever we choose to do, let us remember to be fully present!