“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me”

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me”

We should remember that the highest and most important title for Jesus is “Son”. Now to what extent was this designation already linguistically prefigured in the way Jesus talked about himself?… Unquestionably it lies in the attempt to summarize in one word the overall impression given by his life. Now, the whole direction of his life, its root and term, lay in the name “Abba” – ‘Daddy’. He knew he was never alone; up to his last cry on the cross he was wholly directed toward the Other, towards him whom he called Father. This is what made it possible for his true title of nobility to be neither “King” nor “Lord” nor any other attribute of power, but one word that we might equally translate by “child”.

And so we can say that, if childhood holds such a pre-eminent place in Jesus’ preaching, it is because it is so closely linked to his own, most personal mystery: his sonship. His highest dignity, pointing to his divinity, is not, in the end, a power he possesses for its own sake but consists in the fact that he is turned towards the Other โ€“ towards God his Father…

Man wants to become like God (Gn 3,5) and must become so. But each time that โ€“ as in the everlasting dialogue with the serpent in Paradise โ€“ he tries to attain this by freeing himself from the tutelage of God and his creation to rely only on himself and to put himself in this position; each time, in a word, that he becomes completely adult, completely emancipated, and wholly rejects childhood as a state of life, he ends up in nothingness because he rejects his own truth, which is to be dependent. It is only by preserving what is most essential to childhood and the existence of a son, lived first of all by Jesus, that he enters into divinity with the Son.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI] Der Gott Jesu Christi

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