25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
While Jesus was instructing His disciples about His impending death, they never understood Him at all because they were talking about who was the greatest among them.
Like the disciples, our notion of greatness is like that of the world. Every now and then we see publications of the “greatest persons in the world” in the different categories: Forbes Magazine’s 100 richest people; Time Magazine’s Ten Most Successful Men of the Year; Idols of the Century; fashion magazines’ best dressed; The list is unending.
Some of them are praiseworthy most especially the athletes winning their medals in the Olympics or the achievements in appreciation of the persons’ contribution to the world like the Nobel Prize or the Ramon Magsaysay Awards in Asia. But what is the real standard of greatness? A person may be the richest in the world or a great thinker but a domineering monster and makes others unhappy and miserable. A person may be in the pinnacle of fame and success but is engrossed in his/her self-centered living and does not even contribute to charity.
Jesus gives His disciples the true standard of success: Humility in service! While the world teaches us to be the first and at the top, Jesus teaches us to be the last; while the world teaches us to take and consume as much as we can for ourselves, Jesus teaches us to give and serve others. And to make His teaching on greatness more concrete, Jesus took a little child and said: “Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” To be great in the eyes of God is to be like a little child: A child is a true symbol of supreme poor and total dependence which represents the weak, underprivileged, the oppressed and neglected who are the anawim of God. An act of kindness to the poorest of the poor pierces heaven and touches the very heart of God: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me” says Jesus. We do not have to possess much money to feed the poor in Africa and the third world countries to alleviate the poverty of the world but if we have the heart to help a single neighbour who is in deep need, then we are already making a difference in the world. One act of charity is all we need to change the world of another person for the better. One act of kindness can make a difference in the world. If we are able to do this then we are virtually changing the history of humanity. In doing so, we may not even be appreciated or able to receive award but such acts of kindness should be the great moments in our lives. They are all written in the heart to God.