Daily Reflection – Aug 9, 2016
Tuesday 9 August 2016
Ezekiel 2:8 – 3:4
How sweet to my taste is your promise
Psalm 118(119):14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Today’s Saint: St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
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 becomes humble 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.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. (Matthew 18:10)
More than in our day, children in Jesus’ time were expected to be “seen and not heard”—and especially in religious gatherings. So it was very surprising when Jesus used a little child to answer the disciples’ question “Who’s the greatest in God’s kingdom?” He didn’t choose a scholar, a ruler, or a wealthy man; he chose a little one no one else would call great.
This story tells us that if we want to draw near to God, we’ll find him when we stoop down and put our arms around a little one. We’ll get to know him better when we imitate Jesus by going out to the fringes in search of the least, the lost, and the lonely.
We tend to make allowances for little children. We don’t criticize a toddler just learning to talk when he mispronounces a word. Preschoolers who don’t know which way to run on the soccer field are adorable. Noises that would be obnoxious coming from a teenager sound cute on the lips of a four-year-old. Especially if the children in question are our children or grandchildren, we applaud their smallest efforts at doing the right thing.
In the same way, God the Father regards us as his children, “little ones” to be honored and loved (Matthew 18:10). We don’t need to impress him in order to earn his favor. He seizes on the slightest kernel of goodness in everything we do and encourages us to develop it. He never puts us down or shames us. He always treats us with mercy.
This has implications for how we treat one another. Because we have all received God’s great mercy, we should never feel overly impressed by a “great” person, and we certainly shouldn’t dismiss a “lesser” one as unimportant. Rather, let’s beg God for the grace to see each other as he sees us, everyone of great value.
Effective teachers try to catch each student being good instead of criticizing their misbehavior. May God help us to see where we can celebrate and encourage the smallest steps our brothers and sisters are taking on their journey to his kingdom.
“Jesus, sometimes I get confused about what really matters. Help me to value each individual as much as you do.”