At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “
Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
As we know, the disciples asked Jesus several times during their years with him: Who is the greatest in the Kingdom/Reign of God? His answers always were a surprise to them, and to us: the greatest is the one who serves; the first shall be last; and so on. Today he tells them that they must become like little children.
What does it mean to you to become like a little child? For me it means to be honest, open, trusting, vulnerable, dependent, on the receiving end, somehow simple, adventuresome, playful, loving surprises, and having a sense of wonder. Jesus tells them and us: to become like a child you are going to have to change.
As a Jesuit, I used to think that I could give glory to God. The Jesuit professor who taught us two semesters on God’s grace, said to me: “Listen, Robert, you give glory to God when you RECEIVE what God wants to give you, when God wants to give it to you, and to the extent that God wants to give to you.”
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, serves in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.
Lord, our prayer is simple, our desire is great. Teach us to give glory to you when we RECEIVE what you want to give you, when you want to give it to us, and to the extent that you want to give to us.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team