LEARNING FROM PARENTS
(Wednesday, October 18)
“Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.’” (Lk 9:46-48)
Today’s Gospel-reading includes one of the instances in which the Apostles engaged in a dispute, “as to which of them would be greatest.” The Lord’s response, about receiving a little child in His name, is a bit puzzling. I mean, how does receiving a little child in His name make anyone “the least” among us? And how might this lesson be helpful today, to the ongoing disputes among the successors to the Apostles, “as to which of them would be greatest” in certain canonical territories?
I think our Lord is calling celibates to learn from the humility of those who have little children; who “receive” them in His name and raise them, play with them, deal with their needs, runny noses, tantrums, etc. It’s the faithful laypeople, who are humbled through the self-offering it takes to be a parent, who, when it comes to matters of their faith and church, do not have the dubious “luxury” of being preoccupied with questions of “which of them would be greatest” in it, in the church. Even when parents have disputes among themselves, because nobody is perfect, at the end of the day they need to focus on the well-being of their little child or children. I think our Lord is calling the celibate church-leaders to learn from parents, and to focus a bit more on the well-being of those in their pastoral care. Thank You, Lord, for our parents, and for the laypeople, from whom we celibates can learn a thing or two.