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childrenjesusIt seems as if the disciples of Jesus were overly concerned about status because the text of this morning’s gospel (MT 18:1-5) harks back to the conversation that we spoke about on Monday of this week. Then they were talking about who was greatest among their company; today, Matthew recounts their concern about who will be greatest not just here on earth but in heaven! Once again, Jesus speaks of humility by calling to himself a child as an example. Matthew actually give us three pieces of advice in this short response of Jesus. 1.) Jesus says, “unless you turn and become like little children…” Turning in a different direction always gives us a different perspective; it is what needs to happen when we pray for conversion, and Jesus says this morning that unless we do it we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 2.) The second follows the first. “Whoever humbles him/herself like this child will be greatest in heaven.” So it’s not a race to the finish. Everyone who learns how to let go of status or privilege or anything that sets us apart will, it seems, be equal then and nobody will be striving for anything. 3.) It isn’t enough for us to become like children, we have to befriend them. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me,” Jesus says. For any of us who have had opportunities to “hang out” with small children, it’s impossible not to learn from their incredible energy, their imagination/creativity and their honesty/simplicity. I guess that could be the purpose of the words of Jesus to us today. If people like that will be our companions in heaven, we ought to get about our preparation for membership in that crowd!