True Greatness

– Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time –

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest.  But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side … [Luke 9:46-47]

Today’s gospel begins with an argument between the disciples – Jesus’ closest friends and companions – about who is the greatest.  How does Jesus respond to this argument?  He brings a child into their midst and says, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”

Through welcoming the child, Jesus shows the disciples the way to true greatness.  The child, whom the disciples see as the weakest, is the one who Jesus chooses.  Children are great because they are powerless, they have eyes to ‘see’ Jesus, and they are not yet hardened by the world.

The world determines greatness by status, ambition, money and power.  However, Jesus shows that being great is being humble, being of service to others, and welcoming the small and vulnerable, the person left out, and the childlike. 

Jesus turns the world on its head – he pushes us to see beyond our human eyes, to use eyes of faith.  It’s easy for us to lose sight of Jesus and our mission. However, when we keep our eyes on him and those who follow him, we need humility, service and a childlike trust. They are the signs that our hearts are open to God’s will; they are the true signs of greatness.

by Lisa McKerr

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