The Gospel Today
Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
Matthew 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Herwyn T. Bulaun)
“Great” is defined in the dictionary as someone who is powerful and influential. This is what many aspire to become. Some people work and study hard just to be on top. The greatness of a person can be based on wealth, property or money accumulated in the bank, etc. To be powerful and influential in the world gives a person the capacity to dictate and control certain aspects of the lives of others.
However, in the Gospel for today, Jesus teaches us how achieve real greatness. Contrary to the point of view of the world, Jesus gives a different standard of greatness and that is to be child-like in attitude.
What is it to be childlike in attitude? We can enumerate several good characteristics of a child but I focus my reflection on the innocence of the child. The child most of the time will do things out of innocence. He or she is not bothered about what other people will say about his action. For instance, the child will kiss his or her mother because the child feels pleased to do it, without any malice. Sometimes the child also does something that old people think of badly but for the latter it is nothing but a product of his playful tendency.
The child-like person does not count the good things he does. The value of his action is not important. What matters is that he does what he ought to do when he thinks it will cause something good. I believe that in our life of faith this is very true. It is not important whether our work contributes something to our greatness as long as we do what we ought to do for the kingdom of God. We do our part regardless of how small it is as long as we participate in bringing Christ to other people.
As a seminarian doing my responsibilities to the best of my ability will not make me a great person. I just do what is expected of me. This is my participation in the kingdom. It is not necessary to become great; what matters most is that we do what we ought to do for the Kingdom.