Jesus reveals the horrific punishment for those who cause others to sin and calls disciples to drastic action to avoid sin. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Defense to he can vigorously protect children from sexual abuse and and by building the Virtue of Fortitude so protect mothers and children from the evil of abortion.
19th Week in Ordinary time – Tuesday – Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
After His designation of Peter as the “Rock”, the disciples ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus does the unexpected: to address the issue of greatness, He calls a child to Himself. Children in the 1st century were practically nonentities: children had no rights, little protection if the father was absent, did hard labor, and newborns were often rejected by fathers and left out at garbage dumps to die.
Jesus paradoxically uses a child to teach that the humility of a child is the key to greatness in Heaven, and that unless a man repents (turns) and becomes humble like a child, he will never enter the Kingdom. Jesus directs men to receive a child like they would receive Christ Himself. In the verses omitted from today’s reading and the entire Liturgy (Mt 18:6-9, 11), Jesus’ words anticipate and condemn the horrific sexual abuse of children by priests and widespread coverups by bishops; the omission of these verses is a sad scandal for it attempts to censor Jesus’ warning and strong condemnation of those who abuse children. Jesus describes the damnation of those who corrupt children in sin and gives extreme actions (self-mutilation) to avoid the temptation to hurt a child.
Reinforcing His point about His concern about the protection of children (and all souls), Jesus offers the memorable Parable of the Lost Sheep. The Good Shepherd (Jesus), so loves His flock (souls) that He seeks out and rejoices when He finds the one lost sheep (a sinner who has gone astray); He confirms that it is His Father in Heaven’s will that not one little one would be lost.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be inspired and strengthened at how Jesus, the Divine King and Protector, condemns those who abuse children: Divine Judge, Jesus Harshly Condemns and promises violent punishment (drowned with a millstone, eternal fire) for those who abuse children; emphasizing the horrific sin of abusing children, Jesus, the perfection of Diligence, uses exaggeration to call men to extreme measures (cut off hands/feet, gouge out eye) to build self-control against temptation. Of note, elsewhere (Mt 5:27-30), Jesus explicitly links these types of extreme measures to avoiding sexual sin (Lust).
Protect children from sexual abuse
Realize: The sexual abuse of children has become more prominent in recent years: the exposure of children to pornography through technology, the sexual trafficking of vulnerable teens, efforts to legitimize pedophilia, incest, and the abominable sexual attacks by priests on young boys. Sexual acts by an adult with a child are often considered a form of rape for children lack the maturity to give full consent.
Believe: Reflect upon the Sexual Abuse of Children/Rape (CCC 2356, 2389).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Protector, help me build the Virtue of Protection/Defence (a part of Justice) so I courageously and immediately take all prudent action to protect any child from sexual abuse and ensure sexual criminals, including priests or relatives, are brought to justice.
Protect children by battling against the evil of abortion
Realize: While many Catholics, including prominent Catholic politicians, heretically support the murder of children in the womb by abortion which breaks The 5th Commandment and can result in automatic excommunication from the Church (CCC 2272, 2322), today’s Gospel confirms that Jesus would never condone a woman’s “right to choose” to kill her unborn child; the Holy Catholic Church has always opposed the grave sin of abortion.
Believe: Reflect upon Abortion (CCC 2270-2275).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I can courageously take action to oppose Satan’s widespread promotion of child-killing.