Dec 4, 2018

A few years ago I was walking across the North Quad of the Christchurch Arts centre as a mother was hurrying her toddler, pulling him by the hand as he resisted and gazed into the sky.

The mother was getting more and more frustrated as the child tried to convince her that there was a church floating in the sky. She had no patience for her child’s fantasy and became more frustrated at the little boy’s resistance.

The last sound I heard as I left the quad was the child with tears insisting again: “But mummy, there IS a church in the sky.”

And the toddler was right.

Suspended high between the old stone buildings was Neil Dawson’s Echo sculpture, easily missed by passers-by more interested in their feet or their phones. It took a raised glance to notice the sculpture and needed a child-like attitude of wonder to appreciate and delight in the work.

While it’s easy to quickly say that something or someone is wonderful, a child is more likely to gaze at the world as one full of wonder. Unfortunately as we “grow up” and try to take control of our lives we un-learn the ability to appreciate all that surrounds us.

Now take a moment to read today’s gospel.

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

An Invitation
Practice using your physical senses, hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch to deeply appreciate with wonder the presence of Jesus with you today.



  1. Interesting read! It’s so unfortunate what we take for granted as adults. Thank you for this site!

    • We are a city blessed with works by Neil Dawson, and I always admire the Chalice sculpture in Cathedral Square, the Spires sculpture in Latimer Square, the Landscape Bowl near St Bedes, and the big sphere Fanfare on the northern motorway which welcomes travelers to our City. I worked on the design for the original installation of Echo many many years. Did you know that the Fanfare sphere was originally installed as a ball hanging off the Sydney Harbour Bridge Arch as a millennium art work, and gifted back to ChCh

  2. Yes it is so important to see the world through a child’s eyes. Something I need to remind myself daily. Thank you Fr. John I am really enjoying these reflections.

  3. I love when I have interaction with little children, they always bring me back to seeing things so simply.

  4. I love how children have the ability to keep things simple. I teach at a state school (having taught in the Catholic system for many years) and was having a conversation with a 5 year old about her Dad – I said to her I loved my Dad too but that he was dead (I had wanted to say he was in Heaven but didn’t know if she would understand or if indeed it was appropriate) She looked up at me with big eyes and said, “So is he with Jesus then?” Talk about making your heart melt!

  5. Yes it is the little ones that make us see the unknown

  6. Thank you for reminding us, that we should not take each day for granted but thankful for everything around us.
    That is God’s gift to us.

  7. Makes you wonder then, who is likely to be first to see the New Jerusalem coming down from the sky.

  8. Thank you for the insight

  9. And a little child shall lead them…


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