Monday, August 08, 2005



AUGUST 9, 2005

When Moses had finished speaking to all Israel, he said to them, "I am
now one hundred and twenty years old and am no longer able to move
about freely; besides, the Lord has told me that I shall not cross this
Jordan. It is the Lord, your God, who will cross before you; he will
destroy these nations before you, that you may supplant them. It is
Joshua who will cross before you, as the Lord promised. The Lord will
deal with them just as he dealt with Sihon and Og, the kings of the
Amorites whom he destroyed, and with their country. When,
therefore, the Lord delivers them up to you, you must deal with them
exactly as I have ordered you. Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or
dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; he
will never fail you or forsake you." Then Moses summoned Joshua and in
the presence of all Israel said to him, "Be brave and steadfast, for
you must bring this people into the land which the Lord swore to their
fathers he would give them; you must put them in possession of their
heritage. It is the Lord who marches before you; he will be with you
and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed."

MATTHEW 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
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 becomes
humble 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.
What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of
them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go
in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he
rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In
just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one
of these little ones be lost."

The Gospel reading today provides a clear message that we all,
especially children, have each a guardian angel who watches over us and
mediates for us directly with God.

God values us like the way parents value their children and similarly
how a shepherd values each of his sheep. Parents will seek a lost
child relentlessly until he or she is found. Likewise, as in today's
parable, a shepherd will tirelessly seek out a lost sheep and he will
rejoice when he finds him or her.

Many critics scoff at the idea of guardian angels and the high value
God places on children and each of us individually. They will easily
cite the cruel scenes we read about in the newspapers everyday.
Missing children who are never found; refugees forced from their homes;
families suffering from famine-atheists would make such a list to
disprove that we are secure with Jesus and heaven because we are gentle
and trusting Christians.

But it is doubtful that Jesus meant we could rely on Him for security
and salvation as long we imitate the innocence and humility of
children. Rather, Jesus probably is sending us the message that not
only should we be like little children but rather we should also be
like loving parents and committed shepherds not only to our children
but to our friends, our relatives, and even to members of our immediate

Let us pray therefore, as we continue to strive to be like innocent and
humble little children, let us also work to gain the love and
commitment that parents have to their children and shepherds to their
flocks. Let us be humble but relentless in pursuing those who are
lost; gentle but tireless in bringing our neighbor closer to God;
trusting in Jesus but firm and committed to doing His work.

"Lord, teach me your way of humility and simplicity of heart that I may
find perfect joy in you. May your light shine through me that others
may see your truth and love and find hope and peace in you."

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