Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Luke 9: 46-50
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
Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all
my joy and happiness. How could I offend you
by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I
believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope
in you because you are faithful to your promises.
I love you because you have loved me first.
I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so
many blessings. I humbly thank you.
Holy Spirit, teach me to see myself as the
least of all, as one called to serve all.
Syndrome: Listening wasn´t the disciples´ strong suit. How could
it be? If they had truly paid attention to
the Master, they should have known that the Good News
wasn´t about striving for prestige and recognition. It was
about humility and service. We can only wonder why
Jesus´ words didn´t sink in for his disciples. Yet, are
we much better? We hear or read the same
Gospel passages year after year, yet we still fall into
sins of pride. We might think ourselves better or
smarter or holier than the rest. But how does
Christ see us?
2. The Corrupter: Jesus explains in what
greatness consists: the acceptance of the weakest and most defenseless,
in his name. This requires a humble heart. God
gives us certain powers that he hopes will be
used for good purposes. The history of mankind seethes with
tales of people exploiting one another at every opportunity.
Examples abound: ethnic groups that exploit minorities, employers who
take advantage of poor immigrants, the road-rager who cuts
off people in traffic. “Power corrupts,” says the ancient
adage. Indeed it does. How do I treat the people
over whom I have authority? Am I like a
dictator? Do I always want to show them "who´s
the boss"? Or is my attitude one of service?
Jealous: John explains that he and the other disciples
tried to stop someone who was doing good in Jesus´
name. The person´s crime was that he didn´t follow
"in our company." Christians have derailed more than a
few good works over the centuries because they thought
themselves appointed by God to police the Church. The Holy
Spirit raises up all kinds of new works which
need to be serenely discerned, not systematically squelched simply
because they are new. "By their fruits you will
know them," Jesus says (see Matthew 7:16). The lesson Our
Lord wants to give is: Don´t be so quick
to judge others´ motives. Give them the benefit of
the doubt, and wait to see what their work produces.
Is there anyone I´m keeping from doing good?
Christ: Give me the grace to see people and
actions through your eyes. Let me bring my standards in
line with yours. Let me learn to look at
a person´s heart rather than his appearance. And above all,
give me the wisdom never to stand in the
way of people doing good for your Church.
Resolution: I will do an act of charity for the
pro-life movement or for a children´s group.