Tuesday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Deuteronomy 31:1-8 + Matthew 18:1-5,10,12-14
August 13, 2019
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones….”
For you to be one of God’s “little ones” means to live your life in Christ, and at the same time to allow Christ to live His life in you. This simply means having the relationship between Jesus and His Father live in your own heart and mind. This is something mystical, and so difficult to describe in language. Nonetheless, it’s part and parcel of being a Christian. It’s not just for cloistered monks and nuns.
By contrast, it’s not as if an ordinary Christian first reads from the Bible about Jesus and the Father, and then says, “Gee, I’d like to have that kind of relationship with God the Father. I think I’ll try to imitate Jesus.” You cannot enter a relationship by means of imitation. To think that one can is to put the cart before the horse.
To think that one can is to ignore the truth that at your baptism, the two events of being adopted by God the Father and becoming a member of the Mystical Body of Christ are part and parcel of each other. Both are accomplished at the same time by God the Father’s love. In other words, it’s not so much that Jesus is our “older brother” spiritually, whose relationship with the Father we admire and then try to imitate. Rather, it’s as members of Christ’s own Mystical Body that you and I share in the sonship of Jesus.
To ignore all this—to put that cart before the horse—is to forget that any relationship between a father and child is based on the primacy of the father’s love. We don’t focus upon this enough in our time of meditation. Especially in a culture like ours, children are at risk of believing that it’s their accomplishments that earn them their earthly fathers’ and God’s love. But the Beloved Disciple in his first epistle reminds us of that key truth of the spiritual life, that “in this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us, and offered His Son as an expiation for our sins” [1 John 4:10].