September 26, 2022
by Maureen McCann Waldron
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 455

Job 1:6-22
Psalm 17:1bcd, 2-3, 6-7
Luke 9:46-50

Praying Ordinary Time

My Mother's Suscipe: An Alzheimer's Story

It was another day on the road with Jesus and the disciples were hot and tired.  They were not at their best, and like quarrelsome siblings wanting to pick a fight, they started arguing about which of them was the greatest.  It was a ridiculous fight for a group of people who listened every day to Jesus’ messages of humble service to others, but maybe they didn’t feel like being generous right then.

I picture Jesus coming onto this scene. He paused and watched his dear friends.  They got sidetracked sometimes, but he cared so deeply for each one of them.

To reframe their “who is greatest” discussion, he calls a young child over as he beckons to his disciples.  Jesus says, see this child? They stop and really look at the little boy.  Although they already are acutely aware, Jesus reminds them that the boy is without money, influence or any power at all. 

Jesus says softly: this is what I want you to be like.  Whoever accepts, loves and cares for this defenseless child is loving, accepting and caring for me. 

Which of you is the greatest, he asks?  “The one who is least among you is the one who is the greatest.”

This gospel reminds us how very human we all are, and how it can be a struggle to put our own needs and insecurities on hold and really pay attention to what Jesus is saying. He is telling us to stop listening to a world that encourages competition instead of collaboration. Stop vying for wealth, power and privilege. What really counts is caring for each other.
That “putting the needs of another ahead of my own” is the core of a solid marriage, and any healthy relationship.  It’s how trust and loving care is built for each other.

Jesus taught us the same message over and over.  Life is not about authority and power, but service to others.  The last shall be first and the first, last. The whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and who humbles himself shall be exalted.
But in our everyday life when we are barraged by constant reminders about getting ahead and making more money, we can forget that what we were created for is to love God and each other.  It can seem illogical, but it’s what Jesus taught: People who give their lives away are the most fulfilled.

It’s the lesson Jesus spent his life on.

It’s the lesson he died for.

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