Ordinary Time Week 19: Tuesday

“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.” (Matthew 18:10)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Another may say that among these children “little” means perfect, recalling that the one who is less among you all is greater. Some may argue that the child shown by Jesus is the person who humbles himself and becomes a child among the whole mass of the faithful. This is so even if he is an apostle or bishop. He may become like a nurse taking care of her children. He is like an angel worthy of looking upon the face of God.” (Commentary on Matthew, 13)

Pondering today’s Patristic passage...
‘Becoming child-like’ as well as the virtue of humility are often perceived in the popular culture as inviting anyone and everyone to ‘take advantage of you’ and become a doormat. Origen suggests that a proper Gospel based humility, embodied by the child, is to ease the burdens of the least (like a nurse) while looking on the face of God (like an angel). But how do we ‘look on the Face of God?’ Jesus is clear: ‘whatever you did for one of these least, you did for Me.’ Thus the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially paragraph 2447) become indispensable for any believer being formed by the Holy Spirit as a disciple of Jesus.

Almighty ever-living God,
whom, taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray,
to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption
as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter
into the inheritance
which you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen