Newsletter – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 22/23 September 2018

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 23092018


"You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly, with a view to squandering what you receive on your pleasures." - James 4:3

 Human history provides ample testimony about the effects of pleasure seeking. One pleasure is never enough. People always want the next pleasure, followed by another. Companies thrive by stoking the pleasure-seeking desires of masses of consumers. Left to our own desires, we become slaves of pleasure-seeking, servants of the cravings of our own flesh (Rm. 6:12).

 How ashamed the disciples must have been when Jesus overheard them arguing about whom among them was the greatest! But aren't we like the disciples? We compare ourselves with others and desire their praise. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn't cherish the ambition to be "somebody" whom others admire rather than a "nobody"? Even the psalms speak about the glory God has destined for us. You have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour (Ps. 8:5).

 Jesus made a dramatic gesture by embracing a child to show his disciples who really is the greatest in the kingdom of God. What can a little child possibly teach us about greatness? Children in the ancient world had no rights, position, or privileges of their own. They were socially at the "bottom of the rung" and at the service of their parents, much like the household staff and domestic servants.

 What is the significance of Jesus' gesture? Jesus elevated a little child in the presence of his disciples by placing the child in a privileged position of honour. For Jesus, the greatest in God’s Kingdom is the humble and lowly of heart. One, who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a child. Jesus, himself, is our model. He came not to be served, but to serve.

 God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jm. 4:6). If we want to be filled with God's life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way - pride, self-seeking glory, pleasure seeking, treasure seeking, vanity, etc. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Cor. 4:7). The question is; are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did?

Fr Odinaka Nwadike