September 28, 2020 – Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time (Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz)
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/092820.cfm)
Look at how the disciples behaved themselves. This passage of the Gospel of Luke tells us how the disciples argued among themselves on who was the greatest among them. They must have been boasting one another about their closeness with Jesus, their great qualities, their faithfulness, on who was the first to be called and who was the favored one among them. Their argument must have been fierce because it reached the ears of Jesus. Jesus heard not just their words but even realized the intention of their hearts.
At this point, the disciples thought that Jesus’ kingdom will be like those of kings sitting on a golden throne in the palace with a great army, a political king. They believed that Jesus will inherit political power and vast riches and material wealth. Thus, obtaining a position and having a closer relationship with Jesus will give them the security and assurance of a higher and influential position when Jesus reigns.
Consequently, the argument of the disciples was based on how they could benefit from their friendship with the Lord. As Jesus heard them, he too realized that this was in the heart of the disciples. Jesus had to teach them and to mold their hearts according to God’s desire.
That’s why Jesus taught the disciples an important lesson through a child. Jesus took and placed the child by his side and said, “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.”
Children, at the time of Jesus were considered not important because they were dependent, they have no rights and thus cannot be called as fully man at all. Jesus teaches that in the Kingdom of God, greatness is measured in the capacity to receive God. To receive God is best expressed in welcoming, in embracing and in receiving the least in our community.
We are called to receive God in the person of those who are the least in our church and society. We are called to aspire to be great but neither in the way that we will be above others, nor to seek a higher position at the expense of others, but in the way of embracing others.
This capacity to embrace others and embrace God fully was what San Lorenzo Ruiz showed to us. In offering his life, even to the point of death, San Lorenzo was always confident that Jesus was with him. He said, “If I have thousands of lives, all of them, I will offer to God.” This shows us that San Lorenzo had found himself, the kingdom.
Thus, we shall surely see that when we make ourselves open to receive others, we too shall receive Jesus and Jesus will live in us. This is the reward, Jesus himself. The kingdom of God will be present in us because when we have Jesus, we will be at peace, secured and loved even if we are in the midst of trials and turmoil in life. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR