El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Fellowship International
Daily Gospel Reading - October 2, 2010 PDF Print E-mail

Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The Greatest in the Kingdom

1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
10“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.”

THEIR ANGELS IN HEAVEN

Children and angels have something in common. Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:4). They are not concerned with their status but only with fulfilling the will of God. Children in Jewish society have no legal status or rights; thus they are virtually invisible in that social setting.
The disciples are taken aback when Jesus holds up a little child before them. But he tells them to go against culturally accepted norms that do not give importance to children. He contends that children are well represented in heaven; their guardian angels are the most influential intercessors who behold the face of God himself.


Children are “little” and are welcomed and blessed by Jesus. They behold him who is God’s faithful image in human form. Having no claim to salvation which is God’s gift freely given and received, children are the fitting symbol of those who enter the kingdom inaugurated by Jesus. But the humble are exalted by God and are given powerful intercessors before the divine throne.

 
Daily Gospel Reading - October 1, 2010 PDF Print E-mail

Matthew 18:1-4

The greatest in the kingdom


1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

WHOEVER HUMBLES HIMSELF LIKE THIS CHILD

The Gospel pericope opens the section called the “Community Discourse” (Mt 18:1—19:1), one of the five great discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Here Jesus teaches how his disciples should refer to one another and gives a model of how the Matthean community should interact with one another.


Matthew works from the episode told in Mk 9:33-34 where the disciples quarrel among themselves about who is the greatest. In the Matthean version, there is no longer any mention of the quarrel about earthly greatness. The disciples approach Jesus with respect and ask to be instructed on what to be great in the kingdom of heaven means.


Jesus teaches them about “becoming like children.” In Jewish society, children, while loved, are not considered important. They accept what those who are larger and greater give them. Jesus says that to become like a child, one should humble oneself. Children do not humble themselves because they are already little and are aware of their littleness. Adults should be the ones to humble themselves: they must consciously and deliberately live as children who do not run after greatness, who receive things from their elders with gratitude, who are open to learning and accepting new things.


The gospel spirit was lived by St. Therese of the Child Jesus who is known for her childlike confidence in God’s love, her “little way” to holiness. She was declared Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

 
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