REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 27, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Lk. 9:48
Jesus in our gospel reference today used the example of a little child to declare the lease to be the greatest. Jesus had to address what is the beginning of a desire for vainglory among the disciples. He had every reason to be exasperated with the disciples.
The account in our gospel reference took place after the disciples had witnessed the transfiguration and the miraculous cure. Jesus had disclosed to them his coming passion in which He made it clear to them his kingdom was not of earthly power but of humility. Still the disciples were arguing among themselves who was the greatest.
Jesus could have rebuked his disciples, but He choose to teach them that greatness in his kingdom belong to the least among them. Despite his disciple’s slowness to understand Jesus never stopped explaining to them Jesus addressed the disciples after He “realized the intention of their hearts.” This is a very important line.
Jesus noticed that the desire for vainglory was just beginning. So, by gently bringing a child into their midst and stating that “the one who is least among you is the one who is the greatest,” Jesus was helping them to remove the sin of vainglory before it took deep root in their lives. As Jesus continues His conversation with the disciples, He continues to act with gentleness, addressing their slight error in their reasoning.
Like the disciples, sometimes we have the same tendencies for vainglory. Just as Jesus never gave up on the disciples, He does not give up on us. We may find so many things in our hearts and in the world around us that pull us toward self-gain, power and vainglory.
Sometimes we may feel compelled to brag about our accomplishment or achievements. We may even want every conversation to revolve around us. This human drive can be very deeply ingrained in us, and they cannot change overnight. Jesus wants us to be like him and He wants to do whatever is necessary to accomplish our transformation.
Reflect, today, upon Jesus appearing before you, gently addressing both the small and serious sins with which you are struggling. But once all serious sin is rooted out of your life, be attentive to the gentle and merciful promptings of grace by which Jesus wants to root out every small sin at its beginning and even every spiritual imperfection. Attentiveness to these graces is the surest way to grow in holiness and to allow our Lord to lead you into His glorious will, making you truly great within His Kingdom.
My Jesus, I thank You for the many ways in which You come to me, revealing Your love and grace. Please help me to clearly see the ways that I must change, so that even the beginnings of the smallest sin in my life may be rooted out. I love You, my Lord. Help me to love You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.