Simplicity and Holiness

7.18.18 Wed. wk. 15 – Ordinary Time. (II)
Isaiah: 10: 5 – 7, 13b – 16
Gospel of Matthew 11: 25 – 27

At that time †Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily: Fr. Mike Murphy Simplicity and Holiness

Who are the ‘Little Ones’ for whom †Jesus gives praise to the Father? The poor? The dispossessed? The hungry? Maybe – orphans and widows are the ones †Jesus is referring to. Certainly – it could not have been the wealthy, the well educated, or the well connected; or could it? In fact, it can be all of these.
Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel (5:1-11), †Jesus reveals who these ‘Little Ones’ are. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, the clean of heart and the peacemakers”. These are all the ‘Little Ones’ that †Jesus refers to in the Gospel. Those who possess a wisdom greater than the wise of the world. You see, the ‘Little Ones’ have discovered the secret to holiness in the spiritual life. It is simplicity!
Simplicity has nothing to do with wealth – or poverty, with being in good health – or poor health, with having a good reputation – or a bad reputation, being well thought of – or ridiculed. Simplicity has nothing to do with those things. Simplicity is to live with the desire to do all things for the love and the glory of God alone. It is to live according to the ‘Spirit’ and not according to the flesh as St. Paul would write in his Letters. For St. Paul – those who live in the flesh use every gift and blessing for themselves – for “My” power, for “My” popularity, for “My” comfort – whereas the spiritual, those who live by the ‘Spirit of God’, live with a detachment from these things. They listen to the voice of †Jesus who is calling: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. (Matt.11:28)
The ‘Little Ones’ take on the “yoke” of †Jesus. Interestingly enough, the Gospels are very clear about this one aspect of the life of †Jesus that, oftentimes, we seem to forget. †Jesus did not live in poverty. †Jesus was invited to some pretty nice banquets, held by some well-connected people. †Jesus received donations; in fact He received so many donations – He had to have a treasurer – his name was Judas. Judas kept the purse because someone had to collect the money they were receiving. †Jesus even praised Mary for anointing His feet with expensive oil over the objections of Judas. The difference was – †Jesus was attached to none of this and He did everything for the glory, for the love of His Father. Simplicity is to be single hearted – to desire to imitate †Jesus alone. †Jesus alone – not modeling our lives on false heroes of the secular world. It is to enroll in the school of holiness and to learn from †Jesus that – simplicity leads to holiness. It is also to understand that my life is a mission in Christ.
Pope Francis in his “Apostolic Exhortation on The Call to Holiness in Today’s World” writes this: “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path to holiness, for ‘your sanctification’ is the will of God. (1 Thess. 4:3) Each saint is on a mission, planned by the Father, to reflect and embody at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel”. (Gaudium Exsultate, 19)

This is your moment of Salvation History. This is it – from the beginning of time – you were planned to live at this moment in history to be a saint – to be a living Gospel at this time in history. We only have one life to spend striving for holiness – there are no “do-overs”. We don’t become reincarnated and get a chance to do it again. You get one shot at it – one chance to be one of God’s ‘Little Ones’. It begins with simplicity – it begins today! Think of that. From all time, the Lord planned that you would be here at this time of history, at this part of His eternal plan – to give love and glory to the Father – through a life of surrender, self-gift and simplicity.
The Messiah was not a warrior king surrounded by a great army. In fact, the prophet Zephaniah wrote: “He is meek, riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zech.9:9). The Savior of the world did not live in a palace but was “wrapped in swaddling clothes” and laid in a manger. He did not reign from a golden throne, but He was lifted up on a cross.
The ‘Little Ones’ of †Jesus are those who live after the manner of †Jesus. If wealthy – live with detachment and generosity. If poor – live with joy and gratitude. If healthy – be available to care for others. If sick – do so with the docility of the crucified Christ. Let us live as the ‘Little Ones’ of †Jesus – now – at this moment in history. Directing our lives and the many blessings we have been given toward our call to holiness; for the love and glory of God.

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.