20 Oct 2016
Once, upon a time, there was an old man. He was very, very old. And he had lived in the village a very, very long time. But no one knew anything about him. He was friendly and would say hello. But he never told anybody what he liked or disliked. And he never did or said anything that people would think was strange. He was very careful about that.
But, you know, years and years before when he was a little boy, he was the most talkative person there was! If the sun was out and he was having a good time, everybody knew it. If he had read an exciting story, he would retell the story again and again and again to everybody he met. He didn’t like broccoli, and he wasn’t afraid to say so. But he loved Jesus, and he wasn’t afraid to say so.
Whatever happened to that little boy? Some say he “grew up.” They say he “grew up” and cared more about what others thought of him, rather than what God thought of him. They say he became embarrassed by the Christian joy in his heart; and that he didn’t want people to make fun of him, so he stopped sharing God with others. Other people say he just lost the Spirit of wonder, and the Spirit of childhood. Maybe it’s all true. Maybe none of it is true.
But one thing’s for sure: that little boy who once enjoyed God and was happy to share his divine Friend with others was no more. Jesus said he came to divide people. And he did. He came to put joy in our hearts. But there are people who are embarrassed to show that joy. And there are others who love being happy in the Lord, and aren’t ashamed to be.
That little boy “grew up” and decided to be embarrassed by his God and his Christian joy. But we don’t have to be like him. Even though we’ll all “grow up,” we can always be children at heart; we can always choose to be proud and happy to be a Catholic Christian. We can always say with confidence: “I love my God, and I’m proud to be his child. And I don’t care who knows it!”