"We would like to see Jesus." (John 12:21)
It's remarkable the little things children notice. A couple of days ago I saw a video on YouTube of a 3 year old boy "saying Mass," and I was amazed at the gestures he had picked up no doubt from his parish priest (just search "Isaiah Saying Mass" on YouTube to see this). One of my godchildren still remembers a habit I had early in my priesthood of taking my glasses off and placing them on the altar during "intense prayer moments" during the Mass. He was 7 or 8 when he picked up on this detail that for some reason I have stopped doing. Yesterday, I baptized my youngest nephew and before the baptism I was with my oldest nephew whose 6 years old going through the album of his baptism. I showed him the pictures and explained some but not all of what was going on. Amazingly enough, it was a picture that I didn't explain that stayed with him. After his newborn cousin's baptism yesterday he asked me why I didn't lift the baby up in the air. It took me a second, but then I realized that he was recalling a picture of me lifting him up in the air right after I poured the water on his head at his own baptism.
Children indeed pick up on the tiniest of details. The type of things that we stop noticing as we grow older and start getting distracted by, well, life. There is so much that God reveals to us each day, yet we don't notice his providential hand acting in our life. Today some Greeks approach Philip with a simple request: they want to see Jesus. We would like to see him too, but we fail to recognize him in so many places particularly where is really present which is here in the Eucharist. These children are able to see Jesus in a way most of us cannot because of their innocence and because their eyes have yet to be clouded by doubt and the anxieties that we carry around every day. They come and behold the awesome and solemn sight that is the Mass, and when you ask them, "Where is Jesus?" they simply point to the cross. Ah, the cross. We lose sight of the cross so often. You see Christ never lost sight of where he was headed. He knew the end game of his mission. He knew that he would be submitted to the most violent of deaths, and he even admits in today's gospel that he is troubled at this thought. (In the Spanish translation he says that he is scared.) Christ experiences the same emotions that you and I do, but he isn't going to complain like so many of us do when faced with hardship, he continues down the road to Calvary because that was his mission. Complaining your way through life never accomplishes anything. Christ waited for his hour and followed his Father's will, and he is going to accomplish that will to the very last small detail on the cross before he finally says, "It is finished."
As we journey towards Holy Week, may we be like our Savior and never lose sight of the cross. We want to see Jesus, and yes, Jesus wants to see us and embrace us and comfort us. The trouble is we miss him because our eyes are clouded and we don't see him through the eyes of a child. May our eyes be opened to behold the majesty of God's love in the little details of our everyday lives so that we can behold him and approach him with the love, the joy, and the innocence of a little child.