- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

October 2, 2015

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

26th Friday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Holy Guardian Angels
Baruch 1: 15-22; Matthew 18: 1-5, 10

Today’s liturgy reminds us that integrity and simple mindedness are essential for the faith life. The Scriptures celebrate God’s fidelity to the Covenant He made with His people. This is what integrity is all about – remaining faithful to our promises and seeing to it that what we proclaim with our lips is confirmed by the way we live. Saint Benedict endorsed this concept in Chapter 19 of his Rule. “Let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices” (RB 19.7). Only when our hearts and our lives are in harmony with the words that we pray can we hope to contribute to the building up of God’s Kingdom on earth.

The life of faith demands integration and integrity. If we profess to walk in God’s provident care, then our every action must be consistent with the words we uttered during the celebration of the liturgy. “Christian” in not just an adjective, it is a way of life. This means every action and the end of every path we follow must be consistent with what we are called. Every aspect of our lives must be taken to prayer and the scrutiny of Scripture must be brought into every moment of our lives because we believe beyond any doubt that the God we seek is actually seeking us. Integrity is essential to Christian living. Not to live the message we profess is a scandal! Our lack of integrity becomes a stumbling block to those who follow after us.

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus told us that we should never become a stumbling block to the little ones. An important aspect of nurturing the young is to live life with integrity. This is a lesson that cannot be taught. It can only be caught! We confuse young people when we punish them for doing things that they see us doing. If we wish to be good teachers, we need to repent and live authentic lives. Only then can we pass on our values and beliefs to others.

In today’s gospel passage, Jesus tells us that we can learn from the little ones. We have often heard how He set a little child in the midst of the apostles. Then He told them that unless they changed their way of thinking and begin to look at life through the eyes of a child, they would never enter the kingdom of the Father. Young children do not desire authority, nor do they regard outward distinctions. For them imagination and make-believe frame reality. They cloth themselves in the garments of salvation and live as children of Light. They believe that promises are meant to be kept.  My brothers and sisters, we need to change. We need to be renewed in our minds and hearts so that we may become simple and imaginative as little children whose angels are in God’s presence. If you remember the words we used to say as kids, feel free to join me.

Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide. Amen