Reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary time (Cycle A)
The Christ was once challenged with the question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And to which he replied, “Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in my name, receives me.”
All those who have carefully discerned to follow him, and his Way of serving the kingdom of justice and peace, must above all, be humble children in faithful imaging of the divine Parent.
We must be careful never to boast of “being God” nor of “being equal to God,” for any one is clearly “not God;” but each one is invited to be “with God,” so that each one loses one’s self and then ultimately “becomes God.” It is in losing everything, that everything is gained; it is in being none, that one becomes all.
This is the ‘way of the child’: In humility and trust, will not a person grow because of its parent, and when fully mature, will eventually mirror its parent?
This is why the Baptist John recognized the Christ – the Santo Niño of God – for the Spirit dwells and will dwell in anyone who commits to become its own: “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! … I saw the Spirit coming down on him … God, who sent me to baptize, told me, ‘You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting on the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”
The saint is therefore an unpretentious child of the Spirit; one who not only will never claim to be what one is not, but also one who will only claim to love and to be loved by the One whose heights of perfection we are called to reach with his infinite grace. Simply said, the real saint will always confess, “I am one who am nothing; I can only become some-‘one’ when I will choose to reflect in me the One who is everything.”
It then follows that the saint never makes herself known to the world, but the world will only know her through the Spirit it sees through her: “Through you I will be known.” So, the saint not only serves “to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel,” but she also enlightens: “It is not enough that you be my servant … I will make you the light of the nations, that my salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.” It is not merely in what one does that which liberates, it is in what one is.
This is the “way of the light”: In patience and courage, will not a fully mature person in respect for and honor of its beloved parent, endeavor to be that same parent for anyone and everyone?
This is why the prophet Isaiah spoke about the Christ, for the Spirit becomes “known” in anyone who commits to become its own: “A light has dawned on those who live in the land of the shadow of death … They rejoice before you … For the yoke of their burden … you have broken it … For a child is born to us … and his name is proclaimed: ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’” His dominion will be vast and eternal, and he will “establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever.”
The saint is therefore also an undiminishing light of the Spirit; when one lovingly empties one’s self to their truest self, then one is lovingly filled by the One, such that one becomes the image of One, thus becoming a symbol and beacon of the One for all others. Simply said, the real saint will always declare, “I being one who am nothing, and in whom the One lives, commit my ‘nothingness’ solely to the task of revealing the One who is everything to everyone, and everywhere, for all time.”
Real saints are thus, children of the light, loving offspring avowed to resembling the Beloved from whom they are born; and to illuminating the Beloved for all those others losing hope in the murkiness of a world sorely lacking in love.
The apostle Paul very neatly sums up: “God chose us, in Christ, before the creation of the world, to be holy, and without sin in his presence. From eternity he destined us, in love, to be his adopted sons and daughters, through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling his free and generous will. This goal suited him: that his loving kindness, which he granted us in his beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.”
He leaves us with his prayer: “May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of glory, reveal himself to you, and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know him. May he enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God. May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for his saints.” To the Church, “whom God has sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called, to be holy, together, with those, who, everywhere, call upon the name of our Lord Christ Jesus, their Lord and ours … Receive grace, and peace!”
Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
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