But while everyone was marveling at all the things he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.’ But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.’” (Lk 9: 43-48)

Jesus tries to point the disciples to His coming cross; that He is “about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But the disciples quickly turn their attention to a question more interesting to them, - a question about “them,” not about Him: Which of “them” is the greatest? The disciples were thus self-preoccupied when Christ was about to become the “least” among everyone; when He was abandoned by the “greatest” of the apostles. This state of affairs doesn’t seem to have changed much throughout Church history, as our preoccupation with our own status and authority scandalously continues, despite the light of His cross.

As we all prepare to accompany Him on His journey to Golgotha, let me let Him re-focus my attention on Him. Let me open my eyes and “see” what He is showing me, as He becomes entirely vulnerable, entirely “delivered into the hands of men.” Let me “receive the Child” Who was laid in a manger in Bethlehem, and years later laid in a tomb, as His grief-stricken Mother watched. He does it all for me; He becomes the “least” among us, that I may have true life in Him, liberated from the deadening anxieties of self-preoccupation.

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