Jesus' Response to Those Who Want to be Great
Gospel Reflection for September 26, 2022
“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.’” (Luke 9:46-48 NABRE)
I’m sure we can all remember a time when we acted like the disciples in today’s Gospel. A time when we felt competitive towards others and wanted to be better than them at something. Maybe it was a friend, a sibling, a co-worker, or someone else. You wanted to be better. You wanted to prove to that person that you held the higher rank.
Jesus heard the disciples arguing about who had the greatest power, rank, and position among the group. They argued about who was the best. Jesus then called a child into their presence, and to stand by Jesus’ side. A child is not powerful, and does not often hold a high-ranking position among families and among society. They need to be cared for, looked after, taught, and guided. There is not much that a child can do on their own, without needing help. Yet, Jesus made it clear, that the least, such as this child, are the greatest.
One’s value, power, or rank does not come from oneself or one’s abilities, but rather from being a child of God, made in His image and likeness. If someone acted wrongly towards your child, would you not also feel personally offended? Or, if someone acted kindly toward your child, would you not feel as though that kindness was offered to you? In the same way, those who receive the absolute “least” of Jesus’ children, receive Him.