October 2, 2008
The Guardian Angels. Memorial
Matthew 18: 1-5. 10
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I see children, I understand what you mean when you say, “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Even though they are not completely grown, children are open to the truth – to learning and respecting it. As I renew my faith this morning, I embrace the mysteries of your Kingdom, even though they are challenging and not fully comprehensible. Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done! I hope in you as a child awaits the tenderness of his mother. I love you as a child loves his parents.
Petition: Lord, help me to live the virtue of humility.
1. One Track
Our Blessed Lord spoke these words 2,000 years ago, on the dirt paths leading up to Jerusalem. Suppose Jesus were to appear today, on a late night talk show. Suppose the audience was able to ask him questions: “What would happen, Jesus, if somebody consciously decides not to become like a little child?” Today, as back then, our Lord would respond to the question’s implicit sense of pride with the same affirmation: “You will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
2. A Commandment to Be Humble
Jesus started the pro-life movement millennia before it actually began! The words of our Lord sound severe, but they contain the main ingredient for a civilization of love: “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones.” Jesus’ statement is not only essential in sustaining the pro-life cause internationally, it is also the secret to nourishing the virtue of humility personally. As the years pass, our tendencies to pride and self-sufficiency grow. Frequent self-examination in sincerity and serenity is most helpful in stopping that growth. “Take care” means to ask ourselves, “Is my heart open every day, or is it closed because I refuse to be humble and serve?” This refusal to serve and to be humble is a way of despising little ones.
3. A Guardian
These past few days we have been meditating on Christ’s war against evil, the reason he is going up to Jerusalem. Today he adds an important element, revealing that each person has a guardian angel at his side. Jesus affirms the angels’ presence when the little ones are mistreated as a matter of fact: “In heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.” The dangers of our everyday battles can seem overwhelming, especially if we are battling against hidden evil forces. As we go toward Jerusalem with Jesus, let us also count on our guardian angels for the assistance we need most.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, King of the Universe, you have revealed to us that it is better to be simple than complicated, to be open than closed, to be kind and peaceful than arrogant and quarrelsome. Help me, Jesus, to have a pure heart and mind so that I can live up to the challenge of being your friend.
Resolution: I will watch the way I speak today. I will avoid all curse words and unkind remarks toward my neighbor.
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