SUPERLATIVES

Tuesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

            “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

            The world we live in gives or puts a high premium on the superlatives: the greatest, the best, the highest, the fastest, the strongest, the richest, the most beautiful, the most powerful and influential. Our worth as a person is measured by the world based on these superlatives. Thus, it promotes a culture of competition.

            Para magkaroon ka ng halaga, pangalan, magandang reputasyon o social status, kailangan ay maging ‘angat’ ka sa iba. Everybody seems to be caught up with this competition; everybody seems to be striving to move upward. Students study hard to get the top honors –valedictorian or summa cum laude. Employees and workers labor hard to move up –get promoted and be the boss. Professionals strive hard to belong to the top-notch –be up there in their respective fields.

            Jean Vanier, a spiritual director and writer, says, “Everything in our society is telling us to go up the ladder – all the way up.” Then he follows this up with a striking question: “But who is going to help us walk down the ladder?” What a striking question.

            While we concern ourselves with superlatives, Jesus has different standards. He seeks the least, the poorest, and the weakest. He exalts the lowest, the humblest, and the meekest. He honors the most forgiving and the most loving. Jesus says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

            If we want to follow Jesus, we must have a change of mentality: from wanting to be first, acting great toward others, lording it over them, to being like little children: poor, simple, unassuming, open, trusting and humble. It is in our childlike weakness and helplessness that God becomes our strength and our help. It is in our childlike powerlessness that God’s power works in us and through us. For us to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must have the unconditional trust, total dependence and humility of a child.

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