May 20, 2008
Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I know that you are present in all the circumstances of my life and that you allow me to grow in your love through obedience to your will. May I love you by serving you and others in your name.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to be simple and humble like a child.
1. The Son of Man Must Suffer The implications of Jesus’ teaching were huge. Why, if Christ is God, does he have to suffer? He doesn’t have to; he chooses to. This was the plan for our redemption. To suffer willingly so that others might have life is the greatest expression of love there is. Therefore, God chose this way. Why would the apostles be afraid of this? The apostles were supposed to imitate Christ. If he was to suffer, they would have to suffer. It is natural to want to run away from suffering, but the Christian must embrace it and even grow to love it! Here is the beautiful mystery of losing oneself in order to gain life.
2. Who Is the Greatest? As Christ says, the first must be “the servant of all.” It can be difficult in our everyday life to be a servant of all, especially when the message of the world is “look out for number one.” But Christ is a “sign of contradiction,” that is, one who goes against the grain. Why, then, are we surprised when we are told we must be a servant of all in order to be great? We will never be further from glory than the times we seek it, and never be closer to glory than the times we despise it!
3. Childlike Simplicity as Condition for Salvation Christ tells us to be childlike, not childish. We must mature, as this is the nature of life. We all know that children have great qualities and not-so-great qualities, just as adults do. Christ here is telling us to cultivate some great qualities children have: trust expressed in utter dependence on God, joy, and simplicity.
Conversation with Christ: My Lord Jesus, you call me to greater generosity by taking up my cross daily with joy in my heart. I don’t want to flee from the cross anymore. I want to embrace it and even grow to love it. To the world this is foolishness, but if this is what brings happiness, then let me be counted as the biggest fool in the world.
Resolution: I will make a spiritual communion during the day and pray to our Lord as a child speaks to his father.
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