August 11, 2020 Tuesday - 19th Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Clare
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18.3-4)
In today’s Gospel text, the disciples ask Jesus “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Instead of a direct answer, Jesus uses the example of a child in order to explain to them the way in which they can become great in the kingdom of heaven. The disciples were of the idea that becoming great in the kingdom of heaven is like the standard of the world. In the eyes of the world, the greatness of a human person consists in one’s status in the society. The higher one is in the position or power, the greater one becomes.
In the life of the kingdom of God, this is not so. As Jesus explains in the Gospel of today, it consists in one’s littleness. It is just like being a child. The only status a child has is the humility. A child is always dependent on others for everything. It is when we grow we are taught to be independent in life. Jesus tells his disciples, there is a need of change in the way they conceive of the kingdom of God. They are to become like the children who have no desire for position or power. The Greek word used for ‘change’ here is also meaning ‘turn’ or ‘repent’. There is a serious concern here that in order to become great in the kingdom of God, a disciple of Jesus has to repent and realize that the position or power cannot lead one there.
St. Clare, whose memorial we celebrate today walked this path of littleness by leading a life of poverty. The life and sermons of St. Francis of Assisi was her inspiration. She truly imitated Christ who humbled himself and became poor that we all may become rich in God. May she intercede for us all who are on the path of perfection.
“Love Him totally, who gave Himself totally for your love.” (St. Clare)