Ezekiel 2:8-3:4, Ps. 119:14,24,72,103,111,131, Matthew 18:1-5,10,12-14

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

In today’s first reading, Ezekiel is given a scroll to eat. On the scroll were contained words of lamentation, mourning, and woe but surprisingly as Ezekiel chewed the scroll, it tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth. Truth always appears bitter and too difficult to swallow but when we are courageous enough to accept it, the truth becomes our saving grace.

Be careful with those who use sugar-coated words in addressing you, they may just be leading you into a pit. Run away from so-called friends who are not bold enough to tell you the truth to your face but go behind you to condemn you. If everyone is praising you, it is either you have attained perfection (no longer human) or you are listening to the wrong people.

Jesus’ disciples asked him “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Hitherto, they were arguing among themselves who was the greatest so they wanted Jesus to settle the matter. To their greatest surprise, Jesus brought a little child to them saying: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

God’s kingdom does not operate like our human empires where might is right, where the poor, the weak, and the little ones are trampled underfoot. The principle of greatness before God is not how much money you have or what you have achieved in life. No. The principle of greatness in God’s sight is humility and service. Jesus says: “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) 

Going further, Jesus warns: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.” The worst mistake you can ever make is to try to take advantage of a child’s weakness; that is, their inability to cry out for justice or fight back. Many children have been abused, maltreated, ignored, and emotionally crushed by persons who feel they are powerful. Some children were even denied their right to life from the womb, their blood cries out for vengeance.

One of the ways we destroy children is by scandalizing them. Jesus warned: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:2) Be careful around children. Protect their innocence. Don’t try to take advantage of their naivety; you will not escape punishment because God does not take such lightly.

Respect Children. In fact, fear children. Jesus is saying to us, if you cannot respect the innocence and purity of children, at least, consider the fact that no child is without his or her angels sent by God to guard and guide them. Yes, there are invisible spirits around every child working all round the clock for their good. Be good to children and you will be blessed by their angels. If you want to experience the power of children, gather little children together, go down on your knees and ask them to pray for you.

You might wonder, “Do our guardian angels cease to exist when we become adults?” No way. Your angels remain forever. They grow with you. You are never alone. Note that what Jesus says about children also applies to your employees at work, your juniors, your students, your assistants, those under your power, and those who are vulnerable to you. Be careful how you treat them. You don’t own tomorrow.

Let us pray: Almighty ever living God, teach me to respect children and be more childlike in my relations with others. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of week 19 in Ordinary. Bible Study: Ezekiel 2:8-3:4, Ps. 119:14,24,72,103,111,131, Matthew 18:1-5,10,12-14).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu