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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings

Like Little Children

Submitted by on Tuesday, 9 August 2011One Comment

img-children

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Deuteronomy 31:1-8
  • Responsorial Psalm: Deuteronomy 32
  • Gospel Reading:  Matthew 18:1-5.10.12-14

In the first reading, Moses begins to bid farewell to the Israelites.  He reiterates the duty to put all the nations under the ban, to destroy them just as the Lord has commanded them.  We know that Israel will not totally destroy the nations but will continue to commingle with them and be snared in their idolatry. 

The Responsorial Psalm is taken from Deuteronomy 32 which is an ancient psalm regarding the history of the Lord with his people.  “The portion of the Lord is his people” states the response.  The retelling of Israel’s ancient history begins in the desert where the Lord claims them for their own and trains them just as a mother eagle trains her brood.  The responsorial psalm ends with the declaration “the Lord alone is their leader, no strange god was with Him” and speaks against any claim that in the beginning, Israel worshipped a god with a consort.1

The Gospel selection comes from the context formed by Matthew 18:1-14 and can be outlined as follows:

  • The question: Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (1)
  • The answer (2)
    • who can enter the kingdom of heaven if not one like a child (3)
    • whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest (4)
    • whoever receives a child in my name receives me (5)
    • the little ones shouldn’t be led to sin (6-9)
    • do not despise any of the little ones (10)
    • it is not the will of the Father that any of the little ones be lost (11-14)

The Gospel selection highlights Jesus identification with the little ones (5) since He is the Father’s "little one". We have made the connection with the mention of "the little ones" as those whom God chose to enter the Promised Land2 following the incident of the Twelve Spies(Numbers 13-14). They were, after all, the ones who did not grumble while their parents looked for ways to disassociate themselves from the Lord and his prophet. Later in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus will declare that the kingdom of heaven is for "the little ones" just as Yahweh said that the "little ones" will enter the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 31:1-8
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And Moses went, and spoke all these words to all Israel,
2And he said to them: I am this day a hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer go out and come in, especially as the Lord also hath said to me: O Thou shalt not pass over this Jordan.
3The Lord thy God then will pass over before thee: he will destroy all these nations in thy sight, and thou shalt possess them: and this Josue shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.
4And the Lord shall do to them as he did to Sehon and Og the kings of the Amorrhites, and to their land, and shall destroy them.
5Therefore when the Lord shall have delivered these also to you, you shall do in like manner to them as I have commanded you,
6Do manfully and be of good heart: fear not, nor be ye dismayed at their sight: for the Lord thy God he himself is thy leader, and will not leave thee nor forsake thee.
7And Moses called Josue, and said to him before all Israel: Take courage, and be valiant: for thou shalt bring this people into the land which the Lord swore he would give to their fathers, and thou shalt divide it by lot.
8And the Lord who is your leader, he himself will be with thee: he will not leave thee, nor forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Matthew 18:1-5
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?
2And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them,
3And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.
5And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.
Matthew 18:1-14
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?
2And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them,
3And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.
5And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.
6But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.
7Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.
8And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.
9And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12What think you? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray?
13And if it so be that he find it: Amen I say to you, he rejoiceth more for that, than for the ninety-nine that went not astray.
14Even so it is not the will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

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  1. The thesis proposed is that there are archaeological evidences showing that Yahweh was worshipped along with a female goddess.  But this could have been a result of syncretism such as happened during the time of Hosea and denounced by the prophet. []
  2. See Numbers 14,31 — "Your little ones, however, who you said would be taken as spoil, I will bring in, and they shall know the land you rejected." []

One Comment »

  • Daily Inspirations » The Kingdom is for Children said:

    […] from bringing their little ones to Him. He says that the kingdom of Heaven is for such as these. We have already shown how the idea of "little ones" being inheritors of the Promised Land … The same idea is underlined by Jesus in the question as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of […]

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