My Dear Friends,
If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.
Our second reading follows a similar theme to some of our past readings. The things that defile come from within. Jealousy and selfish ambition comes from disorder within one’s heart. The remedy is to hearken to the words of Jesus who chastised his disciples for having delusions of grandeur. He reminds them of the need to be a humble servant and he emphasizes this by placing a child in their midst and saying that if they welcome the least among them they are welcoming Christ himself. This is one of the tenets of the Rule of St. Benedict that I have always loved, whoever comes to the door, welcome them as if you were welcoming Christ himself. This is a great reminder for parishes too. We don’t always live up to this challenge, but it isn’t impossible. We must recognize Christ in all who enter into this place and serve Christ in them. It is often good to reflect upon a time when we felt like a fish out of water and we had someone offer kind words of welcome. This can help us be more aware of those who we encounter and whom we need to be that voice of welcome for.
When we become the servant and last of all, the challenges presented in the first two readings will begin to fade and Christ will radiate more beautifully in us. When ego gets in the way, we leave Christ no room to work. Let us ask God this week to help us to become less so that he can become more in us.