Monday in the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus is staging an intervention today. In an intervention, you talk to someone who thinks that things are one way and going just fine, when the opposite is true. The apostles think that they are on the cusp of greatness. They follow a certain company, they do certain things, and so all they need to do is figure out which of them is truly the greatest, and they will be all set. But Jesus sets before them a child, and tells them that the truth is that in the eyes of God they are not great men, but small children.
In 2000 years, not much has changed. We would rather be adults than children, because then we will be free. We can do as we please, live as we please, decide our life’s purpose as we please. To be an adult is to be self-reliant and, above all, independent. But if we look at what we have, where we have been, and where we are going, we will be amazed at how little is purely the result of our own self-sufficient efforts. We are still children. True greatness is recognizing the truth of our existence–how dependent we are, and how much we have to be grateful for. If, as Ignatius suggested, we pray and “consider all blessings and gifts as descending from above” (SpEx 237), it is a very short step from there to considering ourselves the least as Jesus urges.