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, and said to them, “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.”
John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus’s introduction of the child in today’s Gospel is one of many possible metaphors he could have employed to illuminate his broader message of humility. However, I think Jesus’s choice to uphold children in particular is meaningful in its own right.
One of the new Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) discerned by the worldwide Society of Jesus is “To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future.” In discussing as a College Church staff how we might integrate this UAP into the life of our parish, we realized that as adults, we too often see ourselves as forming and educating young people in a one-way exchange. But children and youth have a lot to teach us about faith and living a life in response to the Gospel. Jesus, who came into this world as a child, reminds us of the wisdom and energy that youth can bring to our faith communities and the Church at large. Can we adults pay attention and support their leadership?
—Christine Dragonette is the Director of Social Ministry at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis.
Lord Jesus, when you walked the earth,
Your humility obscured your Kingship.
Your meekness confused the arrogant,
Hindering them from grasping your purpose,
Your nobleness attending to the destitute.
Teach me to model after your eminence,
To subject my human nature to humility.
Grant me with a natural inclination
To never view myself greater than anyone.
Banish all lingering sparks of self-importance
That could elevate me greater than you.
Let my heart always imitate your humility.
—Author unknown, published at jesuitresource.orgPlease share the Good Word with your friends!