August 9, 2016
by Eileen Wirth
Retired, Creighton University's Department of Journalism, Media and Computing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 414

Ezekiel 2:8—3:4
Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18

When I was about two, I was standing by my mother in a crowd of grown-ups who were talking loudly. I tugged her hand and supposedly said, “Mother, I think you had better hold me.”

Like most children, I trusted my mom’s ability to protect me from danger, real or imagined. Asking her for help was the most natural thing imaginable – something many of us lose as we get older. It takes humility of the type that Jesus is talking about in today’s reading from Matthew to admit our dependence on God and others as children do so easily.

Humble people understand that everyone from the president or the poorest of the poor is in God’s hands and we must seek his protection as I sought that of my mom when I was a toddler.  Humble people understand that even when they are the fortunate recipients of great gifts that they are not in control of their lives and destinies. They credit God as the source of their achievements and try to give back to his people.              

Too often Americans tend to forget the source of their blessings. In our individualistic tradition, some people brag that they are self-made – that they achieved success entirely on their own, that they owe nothing to others. Really?

Did God not create them? Did they not have parents who sacrificed to raise them? What about teachers who guided them and a community that supported them in other ways?

When Jesus commands us to be humble, he is asking us to recognize our reliance on God and our interdependence with other people. Whether such people die broke or as billionaires, they will be recognized as great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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