August 13, 2019

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” This is the answer Jesus gave when the disciples approached Jesus asking, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” This was not the answer they expected—or wanted to hear. Children were not fawned over as may be true for us today. Furthermore, the little ones are not only the children, but also the poor, those who are not important in society and in the community, and also the children. Jesus asks that these “little ones” should always be the center of the concern of the communities because “The Father in heaven does not will that one of these little ones should be lost” (Mt 18:14).

Perhaps we should concentrate more today on the question of the disciples which provoked the teaching of Jesus: who is greater in the kingdom. The simple fact of this question reveals that they have understood very little of the message of Jesus, who has come among us as one who serves — and wishes his followers to do the same. This spirit of service, this gift of self, of reconciliation and of gratuitous love, without seeking one’s own interest and one’s own advancement was taught us also by Fr. Eymard. Pope Francis calls it “having the smell of the sheep.”

The reason for this emphasis is simple: Jesus says, “Anyone who receives one of these little ones receives me.” Jesus identifies himself with them. The love of Jesus for the little ones cannot be explained. Children have no merit. It is the complete gratuity of the love of God which manifests itself and asks to be imitated in the community of those who call themselves disciples of Jesus.

What does this mean for you that God does not want any of the little ones to get lost?

Let Us Pray:

O Lord, your instructions are my eternal heritage, they are the joy of my heart. Help me to devote myself to obeying your commands. (Cf. Ps 119:111-112)


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.