September 23, 2018 —Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
WIS 2:12, 17-26; PS543-6 and 8; JAS 3:16-4:3; MK 9:30-37
This week’s readings teach us that living as Christian stewards requires us to swim against the tide of our “me-first” culture and stake out a path for our lives that may be different from that of our neighbors, friends or co-workers.
Jesus illustrates in today’s Gospel. “Taking a child, He placed it in their midst, and putting His arms around it, He said to them, ‘Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.’”
In this context, Christ is speaking not only of youngsters, but all “little ones,” those who are vulnerable or needy in any way — through poverty, physical or mental illness, advanced age, difficult family situations — the brothers and sisters St. Teresa of Calcutta would call “Jesus in distressing disguise.”
They are all around us if we open our eyes. Like Jesus, we can put our arms around the little ones in our world and channel some of our energy, ambition and talent towards them.
Giving the best of ourselves to these brothers and sisters may be a little messy at times. It may put us in situations that are far outside our comfort zones. Maybe our colleagues and neighbors will not understand our actions. But in reaching out to little ones in Jesus’ name, it is Jesus Himself we are touching. And that is a most privileged way of life.
This week, ask the Lord for the wisdom to see the little ones in your neighborhood, community, or this parish and to show you concretely how you can reach out to them. Take at least one step. You will be stepping closer to Jesus Christ Himself.