A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Mt 18:1-5, 10)
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Good News Reflection: I Want to Be the Best
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me true humility. As I come before you to pray, help me to remember that I am a creature and that you are my Creator. Do with me what you will!
Petition: Lord, grant me substantial humility so that I can follow your invitation to become like a child.
1. Being the Best.The disciples approached Jesus with a question that is remarkably similar to a desire that many of us might have, “Who is the greatest?” Did you ever want to be the greatest? As human beings we naturally desire to transcend our natural circumstances and rise to greatness; the human spirit is created for excellence. Since Christ is the most excellent man that has ever existed, his answer to this question is important. Am I satisfied with the answer?
2. Become Like Children.Jesus illustrates his answer by calling over a little child. The child could have been six, seven, eight or nine years old. Picture that child with Christ. What is it about becoming like this child that will make us the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? Substantial humility. Every child knows that he is dependent on his parents, and the first step toward our personal holiness is to humbly accept that we are totally dependent on God. Without him, we would not exist. This is the first and fundamental step towards true greatness.
3. The Angels.The angels also teach us about humility as the key to our greatness. They had to be humble too. As pure spirits, angels lack the weaknesses of flesh and thus were created higher than men, so for an angel to serve us (as our guardian angels do) they must be very humble. Some theologians maintain that when the Father announced his intention of raising humanity above the angels through Jesus being born of a woman and embracing human nature, one angel refused by saying “I will not serve.” This angel, Lucifer, has become the icon of pride and rebellion. So, if Christ can humble himself to take on human nature, and if angels can humble themselves to serve human beings, why do we find it so hard to humble ourselves and become like little children? This is the challenge of our greatness in Christ!
Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, I beg you for the gift of substantial humility. Help me to see that apart from you I can do nothing. Help me to see that everything I have, I have received from you.
Resolution: Lord, I commit myself to an act of substantial humility today. I will not justify myself when accused of something that I have failed to do.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC