REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 19, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mk. 9:36-37
Jesus was teaching his disciples about the fact that he would be rejected, killed, and rise after three days. Rather than discuss or ask Jesus what He meant, the disciples were silent about it and arguing about who was the greatest among them. On getting to the house, Jesus used a little child to teach the about ambition.
What is it about the image of a child that helps Jesus illustrate this important point? The answer to this question must be understood as a contrast between one who is like a child and one who holds a worldly view of greatness.
Jesus was determined to follow the path mapped out for him by God. But the disciples were reluctant to renounce their own way, the way of greatness in the sight of man and the world. A child is one who is poor, dependent, humble and in need. A child cannot take care of his/her own needs. Rather, a child needs the care of parents. So, it is with us in our relationship with God.
We are not considered great by being independent, powerful, well respected, or successful. This is a worldly view of greatness. The disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus, in pointing to a child, shows that greatness is not about what you accomplish or the like; rather, greatness is found in becoming dependent upon Christ.
Greatness is found in seeking out those who are in need and offering the love and care others need. It is a call to compassion and concern for the poor and needy among us. As Christian we seek greatness through humility and self-giving service. Greatness, in the view of Jesus is found in our willingness to accept, welcome, and serve those who are considered unacceptable by reason of class, color, religion, wealth or culture.
As Christian seeking greatness in the sight of God, we should welcome people the way a child welcomes them before he is taught discrimination. We all have a common father. The diversities that exist in us are mere accident and should in no way be reason for discrimination. Therefore, if we are to be truly great, we must be ready to accept four challenges: (1) to put ourselves last, (2) to be the servant of all, (3) to receive the most insignificant human beings with love, and (4) to expect nothing in return.
Reflect, today, upon whether you are ready and willing to reach out to those in need among you, welcome all irrespective of their class. Who are they? What is their need? Do you seek them out and offer love and support? Doing this is what will make you truly great in the eyes of God.
Lord, may I seek You in the poor, the brokenhearted, the sinner and all those in need. Please fill my heart with compassion and concern for others. Jesus, I trust in You.