In multiple Gospel accounts the disciples debated among themselves who is the greatest and how to become so, but today they have the openness to ask Our Lord, and he tells them that if they don’t have the attitude of children they won’t even make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. Through Baptism we are adopted as sons and daughters of God; we become his children, and a good child seeks to please his or her Father in everything, and counts on his or her Father to provide everything he or she needs.
If acting like a child of God is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Our Lord reminds us today that having the humility of a child is a measure of greatness in the Kingdom. Humility is one of the most precious virtues in the eyes of God: it flies in the face of earthly ambition and vainglory. Alongside humility greatness in the Kingdom is measured by our dedication to even its smallest member. Children were accepted in Our Lord’s time, but not often appreciated. It’d be easy to argue that writing off one sheep out of hundred is okay, but Our Lord invites the disciples to show a greater level of dedication, letting no one be lost.
Let’s ask Our Lord to help us not only form a part of his Kingdom, but to be great in his eyes through our humility and dedication.
Readings: Ezekiel 2:8–3:4; Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131; Matthew 18:1–5, 10, 12–14. See also The Guardian Angels, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, and 19th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.