Monday, September 30, 2013

“We don’t drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there.”

Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. - Elie Wiesel

Gospel Text: (LK 9:46-50)
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.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

How many times do we measure success according to the standards of power, wealth or physical attributes?  Our culture extolls these qualities as if they were the only things that mattered for human flourishing.  Thankfully, the gift of faith opens our eyes to the truth of this deception. 

Today’s Gospel speaks of the significance of children in the context of disciples bickering over who is great and who is less great.  We live in a culture where children are not valued as they ought to be.  Some look at them as an inconvenient burden, to be avoided if possible, forgetting that all of us began in that state.  But in clamoring for other things we desire, grasping for our own greatness and satisfaction, there is neglect of the most precious gift, in which we also find the heart of God. 

The Gospel tells us that “Jesus realized the intention of [the disciples’] hearts.”  So, when Jesus looks at the intention of our hearts, what does he see?  This is a good question to ponder.

The Christian faith turns the world on its head, and pushes us to see beyond the limits of our merely human perception.  Asked what he hoped to see as a result of the latest World Youth Day, Pope Francis famously replied, "I hope for a mess. that we defend ourselves from comfort."  Jealousy and ambition truncate the power of Christianity.  We must leave those false values behind.

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