A reading from the gospel according to Luke 9:46-50
46 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
47 Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side
48 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.”
49 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.”
50 Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Reflection: The least among you is the greatest.
For our gospel reading above, there are three main points to reflect:
1. We have a natural tendency to desire greatness. Like the disciples of Jesus, we want to become the greatest. We dream of gaining power and influence. We desire to be admired by many people. So we study hard to get good grades and get the best available employment. We engage in business and work very hard to earn as much profit as we can. We enter politics, hoping to get elected to the highest office. We do many other things in pursuit of personal ambition.
This is not inherently wrong at all. It becomes wrong only when, in our quest for success, we neglect our relationship with God. Worse than that is when we do evil things to achieve our material goals. The worst of all is when we think that personal aggrandizement and worldly achievement are the end goals of life. What profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36) No matter what we do, we must never forget that we are sons and daughters of God. Thus our foremost aim in life should be to please Him at all times.
In the parable of talents (Matthew 25: 14-30), Jesus taught us to invest our talent in a profitable manner, to make good use of our potentials, and to avoid idleness. Hence, it is for the greater glory of God if we employ our talents and resources for the good of society.
In this light, let us refocus our energies from personal greatness to spiritual greatness, that is, putting others before self. Let us therefore aim to become the humble servant of all. Like Jesus, we should endeavor to serve and not to be served.
2. While we try to purge our urge to be number 1, let us learn to be patient with others who are self-centered just as Jesus was very patient with His disciples who wanted to be the greatest. Since we now understand what entails to be great in the eyes of God, let us show them the true meaning of greatness, not with arrogance and anger but with humility.
In every organization, there will be some who opt to play politics hoping to get the upper hand in the struggle for greatness. The true disciple of Jesus must never be part of this group yet he must endeavor to be the source of inspiration. Instead of cursing the darkness, he must let the light of Christ shine through him.
3. The Spirit of God works everywhere. Let us learn to appreciate how God works in others even if they do not belong to our group. The vineyard needs more workers. In the vineyard of the Lord, we are all equal servants. We cannot say we are more privileged than others.