Death is swallowed up in victory.
A woman from the crowd called out and said
"I assure you, unless you change and become
like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God.
There is so much to reflect upon today. The anticipation of the great celebration of the Assumption draws us to prepare by remembering God's power over death. This is a perfect stage for Maximilian Kolbe's memorial. And, today's gospel focuses our reflection on what we can do.
I always get "stopped in my tracks" at the words of Jesus, warning me that unless I really change the crazy way I can live my life, and become like a little child, I won't enter the kingdom of God. In that moment, it all seems to come together and become very simple. There is something about entering into the reign of God and the way we can live our lives that is in conflict.
Jesus came to usher in a new reign of God. Through complete and total self-surrender, Jesus let God save us from the devastation of our rebellious pride and the ultimate power of death. It takes "grace-filled" moments to really accept, with great joy in our hearts, the magnitude of the liberation that is ours.
What gets in the way, at least for me, and I suspect for all of us, is that I can so easily lose sight of this "good news," in the midst of the obligations and worries of everyday life. I don't live with the freedom of a child of God very often because of so many learned and habitual patterns that can tend to make me an independent, self-reliant, sophisticated, complicated person - always caught up in some turmoil. It is remarkable how many things seem to become so very important. And, with a little perspective and a simple reminder of the good news, it is so clear that these "worries" aren't really all that important at all. How many things in my life - things that seem to really take my peace away - are really worth the emotional and physical impact it has on me? Have I lost perspective and freedom and a child-like simplicity? It seems that whenever I just stop and remember God's love for me, remember that I have been forgiven, remember how short this life is, remember that embrace of Jesus that awaits me, an enormous freedom rushes in.
That's why I'm inspired and strengthened by the life of a Maximilian Kolbe. He must have lived his life with such a child-like freedom, that when the time came for one ultimate, self-sacrificing choice, he could make it easily and freely. At Auschwitz, Kolbe could tell the guards to take him, rather than another prisoner. Kolbe could lay down his life, I'm just sure, because he had learned how to live it.
Lord, we ask for freedom, greater simplicity and trust in you.
We ask to see clearly. Even when we are brought very low by the conflicts
and divisions within us and around us, give us the grace we need to humbly
trust your purifying, freeing work within us. Liberate us from all
anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Then, may we be able to die for the right things, in defense of those most
in need. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours - now
and forever. Amen
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