1 Thess 2:9-13 / Matthew 23:27-32
Child development refers to the changes that occur as a child grows and develops in relation to being physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally sound, socially competent and ready to learn.
The first five years of a child's life are fundamentally important. They are the foundation that shapes children's future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and in life in general.
Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life. They need love and nurturing to develop a sense of trust and security that turns into confidence as they grow.
St. Paul truly understood this. That is why he said in the 1st reading to the Thessalonians: You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children, teaching you what is right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of His kingdom.
As new Christians, St. Paul knew how important it was to form them as Christian disciples, so that they in turn will form the Christians coming after them.
In the gospel, Jesus had sharp words for the scribes and Pharisees who said that they would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets had they lived in their fathers' day.
Jesus pointed out that they were the very sons of those who killed the prophets. And so what they had seen and learnt, they will continue in their day, because that was their formation.
That brings us to think about how we are living out and witnessing our faith to our young and to the next generation of Catholics.
We must be aware that our young children and the new Catholics (adults who went through RCIA) are looking at us and learning from us.
May we teach them what is right, and encourage them to live a life worthy of God so that as Catholics we will truly be able to form the world in the ways of God.