Encountering God and World in Scriptures

Light of truth

Lectio Divina – 15

Fr Martin Kallungal

“An argument started between them about which of them was the greatest. Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds, and he took a little child whom he set by his side and then he said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. The least among you all is the one who is the greatest.’ John spoke up, ‘Master,’ he said, ‘we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you’” (Lk. 9:46-50).

First of all, it is important to note that God knows our heart. No one can deceive God with one’s ostentatious acts. He sees all the movements of our minds. We all behave uprightly in the public spaces, especially when we notice that we are in camera surveillance. But, why don’t we think and act in a properly Christian manner if we truly believe that God is always watching our lives? Secondly, note that the passage we have read begins when Jesus stops talking about His Passion and starts addressing the question the disciples were concerned with: who was the greatest among them? Disciples could not understand Jesus’s life and mission as that of the suffering servant. They thought about Him in terms of power. They were unwilling to discuss Jesus’s suffering not only because they did not understand the truth of His messianic mission but also because they were mainly eager to know each one’s rank. Thirdly, when Jesus asks the disciples to welcome a child in His name he is not primarily talking about the virtue of humility; rather, he is talking about receiving Jesus Himself who in this world is a powerless person without any position and status. Jesus’s power must always be understood in reference to the Father for whom everything is possible. Jesus is the beloved child of God the Father. But, the disciples see Jesus as the most powerful person in reference to whom they want to fix their ranks. Fourthly, we see that receiving Jesus is more important than merely being in His company. John complains that a certain person was unwilling to join the disciples and yet went on casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus refused to stop that person. Jesus had given the disciples the power over all demons (Lk 9:1-2) and still they failed to drive out demons from a boy (Lk 9:40). The man in question did not belong to the group of disciples, but he could drive out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus teaches, at least, two things here: believing is more important than belonging; no one can control the power that is there in Jesus’ name.

O’ Lord, my self-centeredness prevents me from knowing you properly. I do not see you as you are; I see you as I want to see you. Often, I love you as part of my love for myself. Lord, I am ashamed that even my prayers are infected with selfishness. Sorry, Lord, that I have not received you as you have received yourself from the life and love of the Father. Awaken me, Lord, from my ignorance and blindness.

True power lies in total powerlessness. True power comes from above. Feel the human weaknesses and the empowering presence of the Spirit at the same time. Relax in the Lord like a child that sleeps contentedly in its mother’s arms.

Make conscious efforts to give up a rightful position.

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