19th Week in Ordinary Time
Maximilian Mary Kolbe
1st Reading: Ezk 2:8–3:4
Yahweh said to me, listen then, son of man, to what I say and don’t be a rebel among rebels. Open your mouth and take in what I’m about to say.”
I looked and saw a hand stretched out in front of me holding a scroll. He unrolled it before me; on both sides were written lamentations, groanings and woes.
He said to me, “Son of man, eat what is given to you. Eat this scroll and then go; speak to the people of Israel.” I opened my mouth and he made me eat the scroll and then he said to me, “Eat and fill yourself with this scroll that I’m giving you.” I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey.
He said, “Son of man, go to the Israelites; speak to them with my words.”
Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
The disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you: their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.
“What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you: when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don’t want even one of these little ones to be lost.”
These days, we glorify and romanticize childhood in a way that suggests a lack of meaning and direction in adult life rather than any wise appreciation of childhood. Jesus said that we must become as children if we are to enter the Kingdom (Mt 18:3). The child, like the disciple, is one who learns; the child, like the disciple, is one who considers himself or herself the least of all. Perhaps children have this over adults that they do not have anything much to unlearn or anything much to undo.
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