When I started attending the Christian Life Program (CLP) many years ago, sessions I attended were also spent in patient observation of how the Team Leader and his wife handled their assignments. I observed that they came consistently early during CLP days to prepare the prayer warriors, the service team and even the venue. The couple were the ones leading in doing the cleaning of the floor, arranging the chairs, tables and other paraphernalia. He also trained and coached the prayer warriors and the service team, doing it with attention to details aside from careful discussion with them at the end of each session. In my own assessment, what they were doing were more on service orientation to the mission they sought to accomplish. Later on when it was my turn to serve, I experienced what was needed to be a successful leader in the community. It was servant leadership and selfless dedication. It was difficult, hard, and to top it all, that service was done in Metro Manila where traffic is a daily serving. It drains one physically and emotionally especially when the participants were also having their own personal struggles. You have to tame your emotions, choose to be a listener rather than be a talker. It brings your pride down and without knowing it, you slowly think about what humility really is all about.
In the Gospel today (Mt. 18: 1-5, 10), the disciples were asking the Lord as to who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Then to illustrate his point, Jesus called and set a little child in the midst of the disciples and said,
“I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in my name, receives me. See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.”
This event reminds us of the importance of being humble like little children. It is a prescription the Lord gave if one wants to enter Heaven. This means we must shed off that pride remaining in us.
As the Philippines celebrate the Feast of the Santo Nino today, we are to look at others using the eyes of God and of faith. Roam around the country today and you see how colorful and festive the atmosphere is. In the midst of these celebrations, we have to go beyond the symbols and colors of what we see. We have to look at the essence and meaning of the Santo Nino in our lives. The child that He is, the Santo Nino symbolizes the innocence and meekness that we need in a world that prescribes power, status and economic class. Respect for others must go beyond social and economic norms banked on money and fame. We must remember that what material possessions and status we have are gifts that God can take away any time. We can’t take these with us to the grave when we become lifeless physically but what we have invested in spiritual matters are what remains as real and eternal possessions.
As the festivities fade away in the night, let us pray for the wisdom to look at others with the heart of the Child Jesus. May we make Him our model of innocence, simplicity and humility.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for Him, His holy arm.” (Ps. 98: 1)