The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

19th Week in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Sat, 08/19/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

Who were the little children of Jesus’ day and age?
 
Childbirth took place in the home.
A midwife was present to assist along with the female members of the extended family.
The infant mortality rate was about 30%.
Childbirth carried with it the risk and threat of the death of the mother.
 
A majority of people lived a peasant lifestyle.
Large families, at least six children, were the norm….
children increased the labor pool that provided for the family’s needs.
Women faced the pain and risk of childbirth many times.
 
A child wasn’t named until the 8th day of life. If you were male, you were circumcised at that time.
Male children could look forward to more status, freedom and privilege.
Male children were preferred for they remained an asset to the family for the rest of life.
They were also a resource for protection from enemies.
When a daughter got married she became part of her husband’s family…
she became a lost asset for her family of origin.
 
A child was breastfed until three years old. 
Through this time a child would rarely leave its mother’s side.
 
Home was a one room clay and straw brick structure with a hard clay floor.
There was a higher level where the family ate and slept…and a lower level where the animals stayed.
The roof leaks, the animals smell, and there are vermin living in the walls.
Most of a child’s life was spent outside the house…meals were cooked outside.
Mother brings water from the well to the house every day.
 
Growing up a child could expect to lose a number of friends along the way.
The death rate was the greatest among the pre-adult population.
 
Extended families lived together.
A child would grow up surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
 
At the age of 3 a male child would start receiving a religious education from dad.
At the age of 7 this male child would be educated at the synagogue.
Most children didn’t learn to read or write.  There was no need to in an agricultural society.
At a young age a male child would start learning his father’s trade.
He was destined to become what his father was.
 
Female children did not receive a formal education.  They were taught by mother how to be a housewife.
Cooking, keeping the fires burning, bringing water from the well, doing laundry at the river,
sewing, grinding grain into flour, baking, spinning, weaving, gardening, feeding and changing infants, and cleaning the house.
 
Children had two meals a day:  a light breakfast and a more substantial early dinner.
Everyone drank watered down wine.
 
There was time for play…some board games, dolls, marbles, slingshots, foot races
but there was no formal sports or planned recreational activities.
 
 
 
At the age of 13 a child became an adult.  A boy became a man.  A girl became a woman.
At 13 a male became a member of the synagogue, could sign contracts, could testify in court,
and could get married.
Parents were responsible for making marriage arrangements,
sometimes with the help of the village matchmaker.
 
Jesus instructed his disciples:  “do not prevent these children from coming to me”.
My interpretation:  “do not prevent the powerless, the insignificant, the unimportant,
the dependent, the vulnerable, the innocent…from coming to me.
They are part of my Kingdom.”
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, forgive me for the times I have judged and/or chosen who is worthy and who is unworthy of Your presence and Your time.  Bring me new awareness of how I can lead others, especially the young, to You.  Amen!”