Tuesday, August 9, 2016

When Scripture Cries out to Those who Destroy Innocence: Matthew 18:4-10

Matthew 18:4-10 (GNT)


"The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.


“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them!


“See that you don't despise any of these little ones … your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost."


The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the humble, innocent child, Jesus says, and I believe him. We must all, therefore, become like children, humble and innocent in our hearts. Jesus even identifies directly with the child in saying, “Whoever welcomes one such child as this, welcomes me” (5). Christ is not only in the poor (Matthew 25:40); he is in the innocent, humble child, too.


We are called to be disciples of humble, dependent faith, the faith of a child. When our pride and ego get in the way, much like the disciples when they seek to be the greatest, we lose the true sense of selflessly loving God and neighbor.


I cannot read this passage without thinking of the horrifying harm that has been done to the many innocent children by pedophile priests. It is almost as if this Scripture cries out to the Church, especially those bishops who covered it all up in order to protect the institution while perpetuating harm to the innocent children (6).

Lord Jesus, help me to understand this difficult reality in our fallen world, how those who purport to represent you can destroy and victimize the innocent. Let me not judge, Lord, become bitter, or seethe in anger. Instead, employ me as an agent of your love and needed change in this world. Use me, Lord, as an agent of prayer for the abused, suffering, victimized, and surviving children. Amen