Bible Reading: Matthew 18:1-5,10 & 6:9-10
The disciples came to Jesus and asked,
"Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said:
"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, whoever humbles themself and becomes like this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
In the five verses from Matthew 18, the kingdom of heaven is mentioned three times. This kingdom of heaven is not some mythical ‘Utopia’, or ‘Pie in the sky when we die’, it is an image of this world as God would like it to be, a world which Jesus came to make possible and for which he commanded us to pray ‘Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven’.
How do you imagine the world if it was as God wanted it? What would it be like?
To bring about the kingdom of heaven, Jesus says that we need to change and become like little children. He mentions humility as a characteristic of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. What other qualities of little children do you think Jesus might have in mind here?
As I think of my grandchildren, qualities like vulnerability and trust come to mind, as well as energy and enthusiasm to copy, to learn, and to grow. I also see a simplicity and an honesty in the way they communicate.
Where can you see these child-like qualities in yourself and in people you know? Are there ways in which you could nurture them?
How might you make your part of the world more in line with Jesus’ vision of the kingdom of heaven?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of children in the way we should relate to you and to each other. Forgive us when we replace humility with pride, vulnerability with defensiveness, trust with suspicion, enthusiasm with lethargy and simplicity with duplicity. Give me the grace to see your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Taizé – The Kingdom of God