The Greatest Love of All
Published on July 17-18, 2010 in the Parish Bulletin of Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
I was in the second grade when I first heard Whitney Houston sing, “I believe the children are our future.” Since then, I have heard that line sung in almost every video that has anything to do with children. But it does make a potent point: our children belong to the future and the future belongs to them. And anyone who wants to partake of tomorrow’s promise needs to invest in today’s children.
I believe our children are the future. Because I believe this, I am committed in their formation in the Faith. For the future to have a future, they need to hold fast to the gifts from the past. An ancient Filipino proverb explains this succinctly: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa kanyang paroroonan” (Anyone who does not know how to look back to where he has been can never get to where he is headed). The “Faith of our fathers living still in spite of danger, fire, and sword” has sustained the Church of the past and the present, and it is what will sustain the Church of the future. We share this Faith, a Faith that hearkens back to our past, so that our children might be formed with a Catholic Christian character, a character that will not be so easily broken by what tomorrow brings.
This is what we do here at Saint Andrew’s and Saint Mary’s when we welcome a child in our midst and, through the Sacrament of Baptism, name that child reborn to eternal life among the children of God. This is what we do when we teach our children the catechism, when we prepare them for First Communion and Confirmation, when we hand them the Faith that we ourselves received (cf. 1 Cor. 11:23). This is what we do when we invest in programs like Vacation Bible School (so well organized this past week by Noelle Brodeur) and Life Teen (so expertly headed by Mary Kay Mayo). We invest in our children today because you and I believe our children are the future.
I believe our children are the future. But I also believe that Christ Jesus is ultimately our future. It is Christ who promises us the future that rivals all others: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans for a future full of hope” (Jer. 29:11). And anyone who wants to partake of tomorrow’s promise of eternal life needs to invest in the Christ of yesterday, today, and tomorrow (cf. Heb. 13:8).
When Christ says, “Let the children come to me” (Lk. 18:16), He really is inviting us to place the future into the arms of His future. And we who have known what it is like to be held in His arms can testify that our children are missing out if they know not Christ. After all, Christ Crucified is the greatest love of all that our love-hungry and sin-sick world has ever known.