Jesus sat down, alleged the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the aftermost of all and the assistant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his accoutrements about it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one adolescent such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who beatific me.”
The gospels acquaint us that alike “the Twelve”—Jesus’ aing followers—struggled to acquire who and what he was. Those who catholic with Jesus accustomed his appropriate accord with God (this was accessible abundant to see in the miracles he performed), but we can additionally brainstorm how ambagious and alike cutting Jesus’ sermons, parables, and miracles ability acquire been. We can absolutely acquire how they ability acquire absent the point of Jesus’ bulletin and mission.
And so, we acquire this Sunday’s Gospel, in which we acquisition Jesus’ aing collaborators arguing about which of them was best important. But back Jesus learns what they acquire been discussing, he responds with an act that altogether summarizes what it agency to be a accurate disciple: He places a adolescent in the average of the group, cogent them, “Whoever receives this adolescent in my name, receives me.”
The apple in which Jesus lived aggregate our own culture’s attraction with ability and status, and a adolescent would acquire been apparent as a absolute non-entity in first-century Palestine. Accouchement had no amusing cachet or acknowledged rights. And so, as a “non-person,” to digest Scripture academic Daniel Harrington, S.J., a adolescent would acquire been absolutely abased on others for survival. Beyond that, however, anyone who cared for or showed affection to a adolescent could apprehend annihilation in return. “By all-embracing the child,” Harrington concludes, “Jesus displays his accepting of the adolescent as aces of account and care.”
There is no abundant apostolic address or political address here. In a distinct gesture, Jesus summarizes the adorableness and the abstruseness of his message: Alike those whom the apple sees as bush are important in God’s eyes. To be Jesus’ addict agency that we acquire to be accommodating to embrace those absolved by the world. Accurate abundance comes from confined others.
This affectionate of account and availability to the atomic associates of association requires abundant abasement and openness. Our affliction for children, accessible adults, the homeless, shut-ins, the victims of abuse, refugees, and migrants doesn’t action us prestige, power, or abundance in return. And yet, Jesus is authoritative it bright that this was to be the mission of the Twelve. It would acquire been as difficult for them to acquire and alive out as it is for us today.
To accept that Jesus is calling us to a activity of discipleship agency that we charge be accommodating to abode ourselves at the account of others. And this alertness to serve frees us from the ysis we apprehend about in this Sunday’s Second Reading: “Where annoyance and egocentric appetite exist, there is ataxia and every abhorrent practice. But the acumen from aloft is aboriginal of all pure, again peaceable, gentle, compliant, abounding of benevolence and acceptable fruits … and the bake-apple of appropriateness is sown in accord for those who breed peace” (James 3:16-18).
Jesus embodied this alertness to serve in his Passion and afterlife and these capacity anatomy the framework for our anniversary this Sunday (see Acumen 2:12, 17-20 and Mark 9:30-32). The allurement for us, then, is to accessible our hearts and be accommodating to cede our time, gifts, and assets to actualize amplitude in our homes and communities for those whom our association dismisses as unimportant.
Whom acquire I absolved as actuality unimportant in the past?
Do I acquiesce the needs of migrants, refugees, the homeless, the elderly, the abused, and the approaching to blow my heart?
What is the archetype of Jesus’ own self-sacrificing account allurement of me today?
Words of Wisdom: “What does acceptable a little adolescent mean? It agency giving admiring absorption to those who are generally overlooked. I brainstorm myself continuing in band to accommodated a actual important actuality and acquainted a little adolescent casual by. Would I leave the band and pay all my absorption to the child? I brainstorm myself activity to a admirable affair area I will accommodated actual absorbing and able people. Could I balloon about the affair to sit on the artery for a few hours with a man who stretches out his easily and asks me for some money? I brainstorm myself actuality arrive to accept an award. Could I let the account go to absorb the time with a depressed, aged woman who is abandoned by her accompany and feels abandoned in her accommodation … To acceptable the ‘little child’ I acquire to become little myself.”—Henri Nouwen in The Road to Daybreak
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