Commentary on Matthew 19:13-15
This short passage is an echo of what we already saw at the beginning of the discourse on the Church (Matt 18:1-4). Parents were bringing their children for Jesus to bless. The disciples, with the officiousness of minor officials, thought they were doing their Master a favour by protecting him from such trivial nuisances.
Jesus scolds them; the children are to be allowed to come to him. “It is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Not to children alone but to those who have the qualities of the child: the simplicity and openness, the teachability, the freedom from prejudice, the readiness for change and adaptation. Only such people are ready to hear the message of the Gospel in its fullness.
The passage leads naturally into the next one about the rich man who asked Jesus what he should do to enter eternal life. For all his wealth, he would prove to be wanting in this particular area of openness.