“ Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
The statement of the disciples in today’s Gospel reminds us of something we would say when we were little children. Fearing our parent would say “no”, if we asked outright for something, we would try to get him or her to agree to something before he or she even knew what it was. We probably already knew the answer, but thought we were being clever. It reveals a childish mind.
Jesus was no fool, and knew what was afoot. He asks them is they understand what they are asking, and they assure him they do, but he knows they don’t know the half of what is to come.
In our lives as adults, we sometimes resort to childish ways of acting. We take on things we can’t handle, proclaim understanding we don’t have, and promise things we don’t know if we can do. Jesus urges his disciples to think about the implications of what they want. We should do the same.
It is somewhat counterproductive in our time to baptize children, I think, since in previous generations we had somewhat practicing Christians who would try to instill faith-practice in their young ones. Is that so much true now? I suspect not.
Jesus is trying to form disciples and wants them to understand their need for commitment and perseverance. His “formation” period for them was based on their experience of him as a teacher. Can we offer that same insight to our children now? No doubt, some can, but there are many who don’t understand their own call to be followers of Christ, so how can they form their children? We may need to re-think how we do things.