Every week at Mass, we sit in front of a family with three small children. There are not a lot of children that go to our Mass time, so these children are quite popular and very much loved by many of us who attend the same Mass every week. The oldest is in preschool now, and through her short years she has said the most adorable and sometimes insightful things during Mass. From what she says, it’s clear that she is paying attention to everything going on around her.
This last week, our pastor had just finished reading the Gospel, and it was quiet in the church as he returned to the presider’s chair. The silence was broken by the sweet little voice behind me, “Jesus died and rose from the dead. Why, Mommy?” Not two seconds later, having received no immediate answer, she repeated, “Why, Mommy, why?” Clearly, her mother was going to have to answer.
My mind began racing. How does one explain all of this to a child in just a few words? It seemed to me that a correct response was going to require a university level dissertation, somehow brought down to the understanding of a three-year-old. I felt awful for the child’s mother, now put on the spot as I was pretty sure that most of the people at Mass heard the little girl’s insistent question. As my mind raced on, the silence was broken once again—this time by the girl’s mother as she calmly explained it all perfectly in just six words: “Because he loves us so much.”
And with that perfect answer, the little girl understood, the Mass carried on, and I was humbled by the faith of a child and the wisdom of her mother.