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. Ernie Sican):
I wonder if in heaven we will still be pre-occupied with the idea of being the greatest. I wonder if the things that we desire in this life will still matter in heaven. For me, the idea of seeing an angel in heaven is enough to forget the things that I desire here on earth. The thought of being able to enter the Heavenly Kingdom is more than I can imagine. What more if I will be able to see God face to face in heaven? I’m sure the best of this world is nothing compared to what is there in the Kingdom of God.
I read many accounts of near death experiences and all of them were saying about the beautiful things they have encountered in their journey. Those experiences were beyond what the human language can describe. Some of them would say that given the choice they would not want to go back anymore to earthly life. Whatever the truth of their accounts, I would say that in the presence of God, there is no dull moment and everything is in perfect harmony.
Children have a special place in the heart of God. That is why today’s Gospel reminds us to take care that we do not despise any of them. But how does society in general treat them? Walking along the major roads of the metropolis at night, you can see children sleeping on the sidewalks with only a piece of carton to sleep on and sometimes nothing at all. Even the creek at the back of our seminary becomes a gathering place for children looking for something they can sell from the garbage that the flood brings. With all kinds of human wastes hazardous to their health, they feast on other people’s garbage.
It is disheartening to see children suffer from poverty, living a life so degrading. While those who have enough enjoy the comforts of life, those who have none endure the harsh realities of life. Yet in God’s eyes, there is no distinction between the children of the rich and the children of the poor. God loves them equally. If they are special in the eyes of God, why then, we cannot treat them equally? Of course we cannot give the poor the same material blessings the rich ones enjoy. However, we can help them in one way or another to uplift their lives. They also deserve to enjoy their life in their years. That is I think the challenge for all of us. Let us give the poor children the hope and the opportunity to realize themselves and feel that they are also special not only in the eyes of God but in our eyes as well.