Meditation: Are you surprised to see the disciples
discussing with Jesus who is the greatest? Don't we do the same
thing? The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in
us. Who doesn't cherish the ambition to be "somebody" whom others
admire rather than a "nobody"? Even the Psalms speak about the
glory God has destined for us. You have made them a little
lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor (Psalm
Whose glory do you seek?
Jesus made a dramatic gesture by placing a child next to himself to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God. What can a little child possibly teach us about greatness? Children in the ancient world had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the "bottom of the rung" and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants. What is the significance of Jesus' gesture? Jesus elevated a little child in the presence of his disciples by placing the child in a privileged position of honor at his right side. It is customary, even today, to seat the guest of honor at the right side of the host.
The lowly of heart empty themselves of pride
Who is the greatest in God's kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart - who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant and child before God. The simple of heart know that they belong to God - he is their father, teacher, and provider - the one who shows them the way of peace, joy, and life everlasting. They are content to recognize their total dependence on God who is the source of all goodness and every good gift.
Jesus restores us to the people he has made holy
What does Jesus' story about a lost sheep tell us about God and his kingdom? Shepherds normally counted their sheep at the end of the day to make sure all were accounted for. Since sheep by their very nature are very social, an isolated sheep can quickly become bewildered and even neurotic. The shepherd's grief and anxiety is turned to joy when he finds the lost sheep and restores it to the fold. What was new in Jesus' teaching was the insistence that sinners must be sought out and not merely mourned for. God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that all be saved and restored to fellowship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God (Luke 15:7). Seekers of the lost are much needed today. Do you pray and seek after those you know who have lost their way to God?
"Lord Jesus, teach me your way of humility and simplicity of heart that I may find perfect joy in you. May your light shine through me that others may see your truth and love and find hope and peace in you."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/