Monday, October 1, 2012


The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" 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. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. "See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."
(Matthew 18:1-5, 10)
The disciples just don’t get Jesus’ message, do they? Today they ask who is the greatest in the kingdom of God? Now why did they ask this? Because they wanted to be great–according to the world.

Peter wanted Jesus to exercise his power as a military messiah that would put the smackdown on the Romans. For Peter, Jesus could be the Ultimate Galilean Ninja warrior; Jesus could be Israel’s Idol. But Jesus says no. It’s about the cross. It’s about serving the least ones. It’s about being humble like a child.

The twelve then argue among themselves which is the greatest, and then they become jealous of others who follow Jesus but don’t follow them. They were too focused on themselves.

The boys have it all wrong about leadership in the kingdom.

In answer to the disciples question about greatness in the kingdom, Jesus calls a child over and says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

In the first century A.D., a child had no rights and in fact was persona non grata, and in the Roman world, a female child was often discarded at birth, boys being the preferred gender.

Yet leadership in the kingdom is not about power, it’s not about possessions, it’s not about pleasure or popularity. It’s about service.

Jesus shows us what true authority looks like – you don’t really see it.

Jesus exercised his authority with such a delicate humility that it was invisible.

And for us, as his followers, that might mean we will not be recognized for our service. But that isn’t so bad if it means we are participating in the ministry of Jesus.

As John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

Which brings us to today’s feast day of the Guardian Angels.

The angels are invisible.  * Except for a few times when they have appeared to people in the bible, they are invisible servants of God.
What is an Angel? The word angel is actually the definition of what they do: they are messengers of God.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, an angel as a supernatural being is actually an incorporeal spiritual being of pure intellect. *

In other words, unlike humans who have a body and spirit, they are pure spirits.

They exist to serve God and give glory to God and to serve humans in our journey of faith.

Angels are often portrayed in art with wings because they are not confined to space and time, hence our guardian angels can be with each of us now and also be in the presence of God in heaven simultaneously.

And as the angels are invisible, we too are called to be invisible messengers of God’s love, compassion, and peace.

Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he called us to be salt for the earth? Salt disappears once we put it on our food and it brings out the best flavors.

Jesus also called us to be the light of the world. And though light is also invisible, light itself is that which illuminates all things; light enables us to see things, but we don’t actually see light itself.

So let’s stop playing the game of thinking were the greatest in the kingdom and humble ourselves; recognizing the needs of others and asking our guardian angels to assist us in our prayers and in practicing our faith and generosity.

Therefore as we go about our daily lives, called to be angels of mercy, we too will be messengers of God, willing to disappear from view to help others shine, bringing out the best in others.

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