The disciples’ question to Jesus today in asking “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” reveals their human approach in trying to understand the divine nature. Our human nature needs a reference, a point of comparison in which to understand something that is unknown. Of course, Jesus provides a spiritual response, directing their minds to the quality most required for heavenly greatness, humility.
A child is the most dependent member of the family, requiring constant care and guidance from a loving parent. What they eat, wear, learn, and do depends on those who know them best and want what’s best for their child. More importantly, a child responds to the love received by being loving to others.
What can we adults learn from the dependence of children? Aren’t we supposed to grow and mature to become independent and self-sufficient? The answer is yes, but… As adults we must remember that all that we have, all that we know, all the gifts and talents that enable us to contribute to our own well-being and the well-being of others, has been given to us by our loving God and creator.
Who is the greatest in God's kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart - who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant and child before God. The simple of heart know that they belong to God - he is their father, teacher, and provider - the one who shows them the way of peace, joy, and life everlasting. They are content to recognize their total dependence on God who is the source of all goodness and every good gift.
Jesus concludes his teaching on humility with the story of the lost sheep. Who are the lost sheep we’re called to seek and find? Those who don’t know the love and caring shepherd, Jesus, who provides us with all that we need. We are quick to see the failings of others. Let us be just as quick to reach out and share the Father’s love with them.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Who is God calling you to reach out to today with His love?