August 11, 2020 (Tuesday of week 19 Year II: St Clare)
Who is the greatest?
Dear friends in Christ, we celebrate today, the memorial of St Clare. She was born in Assisi and was influenced by the life of St Francis of Assisi, under whose guidance, Clare began a community which eventually became the order of the Poor Clares. She was later joined by her sister and her widowed mother. She lived in radical attachment to poverty and desired a community that will own nothing by depending on alms for its sustenance. She was a noted contemplative and mother to her nuns.
Our first reading today (Ezekiel 2:8-3:4) is on the commissioning of the prophet Ezekiel. God said to him, “You son of man, hear what I say to you; be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” The Prophet then saw a hand stretched towards him and was given a written scroll, written on both sides and asked to eat it. This is not the usual. The prophet had to digest the word and make it his own. He must obediently accept what God is offering and present it to the people. What he saw on the scrolls, were words of “lamentation and mourning and woe.” It was nonetheless sweet as honey in his mouth. He must then go out and deliver it. A prophet is not his own man, he is called to be the mouthpiece of God. There are however, many people who lay claim to so many things in the name of God, it is by their fruits we shall know them. We all however, have access today to the word of God, the Bible is the best selling book of all time, what has happened to our delivery of the message that we have received?
The gospel passage of today (Matthew 18:1-5.10.12-14) tells us that the disciples came to Jesus to ask, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” One would have expected Jesus to answer that by mentioning: priests, Pharisees, scribes, religious leaders etc. Instead, he called to him a child and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is not requesting that we return to our mothers wombs or to the nursery, but to look at what a childlike life offers. A little child is a marvellous creature. He is unfinished and dependent, he is trustful and affectionate, he is eager to learn and improve, he is quick to forgive, he does not keep a grudge and he has an open mind. This is what Jesus praised in children and wants adults to tap into. We all had these qualities as children but our survival instinct has driven us to become more protective of ourselves and sometimes greedy and unconcerned about others. Can we get back to ourselves, our real nature, the hidden lessons from little children?
Let us pray: Lord we are your children, give us the grace to embrace the childlike qualities that leads to true life in Christ. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Amen