Lord, embrace us between your arms, as you did to that little child and teach us to welcome you

25th.Sunday of the Year - B

Wisdom 2: 12, 17-20; Psalm 53; James 3: 16-4: 3; Mark 9: 30-37

Read: They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them: “What were you arguing about on the road?” They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So, he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said: “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all”. He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him, and said to them: “Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me”.

Reflect: “When they were in the house he asked them”. “The house” represents the Christian community. In this “House” whoever occupies the first place should discard any desire that he is the greatest. The Church is the place where everyone of us Christians recognises the gifts given him by God, and celebrates their greatness by humbly using these for the service of others. In God’s eyes, the greatest is that who resembles Christ, who is everyone’s servant (Luke 22:27).

So as to send most forcefully this message, Jesus made a significant move. He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms around him, and said to them: “Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name”. In Jesus’ time, children were loved but were not given any importance in society. From a legal aspect they were not even recognised, and they were also considered to be impure because they lacked what was required by law.  If we keep this point in mind, we will better understand why Jesus made this gesture. Jesus wanted the community of his disciples to place at the centre of their attention the poorest of the poor, those who were not considered important in society, the emarginalized, those who were impure.

It is not easy to embrace, say, a forty-year-old person who still needs to be treated like a little child ....... one who is not well-behaved towards others, destroys other people’s lives, who is irresponsible. “To embrace” does not mean to approve the behaviour of such persons and to support their bad behaviour, but to educate, to help them mature. In our communities we find such “children”. We have to admit that the “child” is found in each and every one of us. To embrace one another is a gesture of acceptance of one another happily, with confidence, respect and with a will to be of service.

Pray: Lord, embrace us between your arms, as you did to that little child and teach us to welcome you, your thoughts, your ways.

Act: Think about the importance that God places on your attitude to serve others, and practice this in your life.


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