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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2018
(Part 52)

GREAT LIKE A CHILD

August 14, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 18:1-14

The disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (v.1). Was this about power and position, as in the case of Peter upon whom Jesus was going to build his church? Was it about their works of healing the sick and driving out demons? Was it about being in the inner circle of Jesus as some of them witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration in the awesome presence of Moses and Elijah? Talking about greatness, these would be it!

But again, Jesus confounds them. “He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (v.3-4). Unless you become like a child, you are not only not the greatest in the kingdom of God, but you will not even enter it!

How shocking and bewildering this must have been for the disciples. A child was a nobody in Jewish society. A child had no power and was totally dependent on others. But then, in relation to God, that is how it needs to be. We cannot be great unless we are totally dependent and reliant on God, unless any power we exercise emanates from Him, unless everything we do redounds to His glory.

A child is innocent and pure (though naughty at times). We too must be pure. So much so that if our hand or foot or eye causes us to sin, it is better to cut it off and throw it away (v.8-9). We are called to holiness and Christian perfection. It is only as such that we can become great in Christ.

Then to be great in deed is to do the divine work of God. And the most important work is that of evangelization, because this is about helping people to attain the salvation that Jesus already won for them. Every Christian is to be an evangelizer. This work is at the very heart of God, as “it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (v.14). Thus the man with a hundred sheep searches for the one sheep that has gone astray, and rejoices when he finds it (v.12-13). This is a parable on God’s mercy and love for everyone. But this is a greater challenge today, since not only one but 99 of the 100 sheep have strayed and are lost. The work of bringing back the lost sheep has been entrusted to God’s people. How awesome and great that work is, being the very work of Jesus the Savior.

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