The Greatest in the Kingdom

…continuing our exegesis of the quote from the Holy Father: “The great scholar becomes a little one and for this very reason perceives the folly of God as wisdom, a wisdom far greater than all human wisdom.”

We explained the Little Way of Therese of Liseaux; now let’s consider the scriptural influence. In Matthew 18, the disciples of Jesus ask who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus responds in verse 4, Whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Variants of this account are found in Luke 9: 46-48 and Mark 9: 33-37. In chapter 23, verse 11, Jesus revisits the same theme with the pharisees and scribes, saying “The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

In Benedict’s homily, the great scholar becomes the little one. Without specifically citing the biblical passage, he is referring to Matthew 18, where the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven” is the “little child.” To drive the point home, he mentions Therese of Liseaux, a Doctor of the Church and practitioner of the “Little Way,” as embodying this wisdom.

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