I thought we should have something peppy and cheerful for this winter’s morning (at least for those of us in the Northern hemisphere!) Here is the Rondo from Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 in E-flat Major. [K. 495]
A teacher showed three toys to a student and asked the student to spot the differences. All three toys seemed to be identical in their shape, size and material. After keen observation, however, the student observed holes in the toys. The first toy had holes in the ears, the second had holes in the ear and mouth, while the third had only one hole in one ear.
The student put a needle in the ear hole of the first toy. It came out from the other ear. In the second toy, when the needle was put into the ear, it came out of the mouth. With the third toy, when the needle was put in, it did not come out.
The first toy represents those people around you who give the impression that they are listening to you, all your concerns and that they care for you. But they just pretend to do so. After listening, in the same way the needle came out from the other ear, the things you said to them are gone. So be careful while speaking to this type of people around you because they do not care for you.
The second toy represents those people who listen to all your concerns and give the impression that they care for you. But, as in the toy, the needle comes out from the mouth. These people will use your concerns and the things you say to them against you by telling them to others and breaking confidentiality for their own purpose.
With the third toy, the needle did not come out of it. This represents the kind of people who keep the trust you have in them. They are the ones who you can count on.
Image by Pavel Krok under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
A teacher told the story of the Good Samaritan to her class and asked, “What does this story teach you?” Said one child, “When I’m in trouble, someone should help me!”
When Jesus was asked to point to someone who epitomized the qualities he was looking for in his disciples, he didn’t go to a palace, synagogue, or marketplace. No, he went to a playground. There, calling over to himself a little girl, he put his arm around her shoulders and said to his disciples, “This is the kind of person I want you to become. She has the qualities I’m looking for.”
We can only begin to imagine the shock of his disciples as they sputtered, “Her?! A little kid?! This is a joke, right?” The disciples had every reason to be shocked. They protested, “But Jesus, children are ignorant, immature, self-centered, undisciplined, helpless, naughty, naive, cruel, inconsiderate, and totally irresponsible. And they have no legal rights whatsoever.” In short, children were all those things the disciples, as adults, were trying so hard not to be.
But Jesus did not retract what he had said. No, he was insistent and made his point even more plain, saying, “I’m telling you, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless you become like this little kid.”
We might ask, “What is it about children that make them shoo-ins for the Kingdom of God?” Here and in other passages, Jesus tells us. For one thing, children are open. They let reality in—not like so many adults who, over the years, build elaborate barriers to shield themselves against the real world. Those barriers, unfortunately, keep out not only the world—they keep out God, who can come into our lives only through that real world.
Children are trustful too. They readily take your hand. They go where you lead them. They believe what you tell them. Isn’t this receptivity exactly what we need in our relationship with God? Like children, don’t we have to trust God, take God’s hand, go where God may lead us, and believe what God tells us?
Finally, children have no real claims on their parents’ love. They do nothing to merit or earn the love that is poured out upon them from the moment they enter the world. Good parents don’t love their kids because they have to. They love their kids because they love their kids. The love of a parent for a child is a lot like God’s love for us.
How childlike am I? Whom do I love as God loves?
God, you who are Father, you who are Mother, give me the heart of a child.
—Excerpted from Gracious Goodness by Melannie Svoboda, SND.