Your children are as the shoots of an Olive Tree
14. Let us once more take up the song of the Psalmist. In the home where husband and wife are seated at table, children appear at their side “like olive shoots” (Ps 128:3), that is, full of energy and vitality. If the parents are in some sense the foundations of the home, the children are like the “living stones” of the family (cf. 1 Pet 2:5). Significantly, the word which appears most frequently in the Old Testament after the name of God (YHWH, “the Lord”), is “child” (ben, “son”), which is itself related to the verb “to build” (banah). Hence, Psalm 128, in speaking of the gift of children, uses imagery drawn from the building of a house and the social life of cities: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain… Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Ps 127:1, 3-5). These images reflect the culture of an ancient society, yet the presence of children is a sign of the continuity of the family throughout salvation history, from generation to generation.
© LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA.