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Become Like Children
Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
At that time 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. 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.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to hear the Word you are speaking to me in this Gospel. Plant this Word deep in my heart and help me feel your immense love for me and every person in your flock.
- The Littlest: In today’s Gospel, the disciples were concerned with who would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom. In Mark’s version of this story, the disciples did not merely ask Jesus who was the greatest. They argued about it: “They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest” (Mark 9:34). Jesus did something surprising in response: He showed them a little child, proclaiming the littlest among them to be the greatest. In doing this, he showed the disciples their very selves. They–and all people–are God’s children. When we are humble and become small, we too can become like little children.
- Christian Poverty: Spiritual director Fr. Jacque Philippe wrote, “Humility is truth. I am what I am in God’s eyes: a poor child who possesses absolutely nothing, who receives everything, infinitely loved and totally free.” We are all children in God’s eyes. He has given us everything we have. Our personalities, talents, our ability to think and love and even breathe—these are all from our loving Father. Today is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, who was deeply dedicated to holiness and Christian poverty. Like St. Clare, we are called to imitate Christ by being poor in spirit, therefore inheriting the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3).
- Our Good Shepherd: Jesus concludes the lesson about being little by showing the disciples how much God cares for each and every one of his little ones. We are his sheep and he will not lose any of us: “Know that the Lord is God, he made us, we belong to him, we are his people, the flock he shepherds” (Psalms 100:3). He is our Good Shepherd, and he will protect us. He will come after us when we are lost. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I can be so full of myself sometimes. I cannot turn away from my pride and become like a little child on my own. Learning to live with a poor spirit is not easy. Please walk with me so that I might learn to walk humbly with you. Help me to become little by putting aside my ego. Help me empty myself so that it is no longer I who lives, but you who lives in me (cf. Galatians 2:20).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray for the intercession of St. Clare to help me make a small step toward Christian poverty.
For Further Reflection: Read this article about St. Clare, the founder of the Poor Clares.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.