To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 66:10-14; 1 Cor 13:4-13; Mt 18:1-4
St. Therese of the Child Jesus is one of my most favourite saints. I admire and am inspired by her for a number of reasons, but one of the most important reasons for this is her response to life. She had more challenges than most of us will ever have, yet her response was always positive no matter what the challenge she faced. In this regard she teaches us how we too must be able to see the hand of God in everything that happens to us.
She was born in 1873 and died very young at the age of 24 (1897). At the age of 14, she had an experience that transformed her life. She decided to give her whole life to God and entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Though she was often sick and often plagued with doubts, she remained faithful and received the ability to find God in all things and all things in God. Her focus was not on doing great things but on doing all that she did with unconditional love. She would do even the most ordinary tasks with extraordinary love.
The Gospel text for the feast is taken from what is termed by as Matthew’s “Community Discourse” (18:1-35). It is the fourth of the long discourses in Matthew. Some see the discourse as divided clearly into two parts (18:1-14 and 18:15-35), with various indications, which point to such a division. Some of these indications are as follows: Both sections end with a parable (18:12-13 and 18:23-34), after the parable is a concluding statement of Jesus, which begins with the word “So” (18:14.35), there is also in the sayings, a reference to the heavenly Father and the saying is about the subject of the preceding section (“little ones” and “brother/sister”).
The discourse begins with a question about the disciples regarding greatness. In his response, Jesus makes clear that being in the kingdom or coming into it, is not a matter of one’s talents or qualities, but “becoming like a child”. In first-century Judaism, children were often regarded as inferior and were treated as property rather than as persons. The point Jesus makes here is that one must acknowledge dependence on the Father. The reception of a child is an indication that one has accepted the values of the kingdom and one is no longer concerned about being greatest.
This was the attitude of St. Therese to life and she lived as a child of God all through her life. She inspires and invites us to the same.