Ecclesiasticus 2:1-11; Psalm 36(37):3-4,18-19,27-28,39-40; Mark 9:30-37
From our perspective today we might be astonished at how little respect or notice was given to children in Jesus's time and place. Perhaps because of high child mortality rates, children were not regarded as people till they became young adults, those times being recognised through rites of the synagogue. It perhaps was less painful to parents that way, although I am sure mothers and fathers suffered a lot at the loss of children to accident or disease.
Christ places the least significant person he could find - a little child - at the centre of his teaching in this scene in today's Gospel. He is placing his own acceptance in society at the same level of complete dependency on others that a child has - if no one cares for him, then he would simply die away and no one would notice. Perhaps, Christ is still doing this - so who are the ones that we should be welcoming? If we do not welcome the homeless, the refugee, the poor, the single parent, the orphan, the drug user or the simply difficult to like - then we are likely to be failing to welcome Christ - not because we want to keep Christ out of our lives, but simply because we fail to notice that He is present in all of his Children.