Scripture Focus: Matthew 18.1-5
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Reflection: Invisible Status
By John Tillman
The disciples were constantly grasping for status.
Over and over the gospel accounts give us insight into the ways they jostled one another, trying to be better than the rest, bigger than the rest, closer to Jesus, more “righteous,” more powerful…
“Who is the greatest?” they ask, each hoping it will be himself.
Jesus urged his disciples, and he urges us, to lay down all such status-addicted, scrambling, scuffling struggle. When they pressed around him longing for greatness, Jesus called to himself someone they never would have expected—a child.
Children, and women, were so low status that they were invisible to the statisticians, politicians, and religious leaders of the day, but Jesus sees those who are made invisible by culture. Jesus kicks over our definition of greatness.
Jesus calls “the greatest” those others call “the least.”
Jesus moves the invisible to the best seats at the feast.
Jesus calls the ignored who no one thought should come.
Jesus gives a hand up to those under a thumb.
Jesus calls attention to ones we are too blind to see.
Jesus hears the pleas of those crushed beneath our knees.
Jesus gives strength to those we mock for being weak.
Jesus elevates the lowly from the valleys to the peaks.
Jesus makes great those accepting they are small.
He will be our everything when we make him our all.
We don’t have to convince Christ of our potential based on past performance. There is no need to demonstrate return on investment. His investment in us is already assured. It is his own work and word that will not return void without fulfilling its purpose in us. He accepts us not based on our past but on the future he will guide us towards.
When we come to Jesus, we must leave behind any thoughts of status. Thanks be to God.
“I hear you have a soft spot for fools and little children and I’m glad. ‘Cause I’ve been both of those.” — from “Farther On” by Russ Taff
Divine Hours Prayer: The Small Verse
The Lord is my shepherd and nothing is wanting to me. In green pastures He has settled me. — The Short Breviary
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle
Jeremiah 4 (Listen – 5:23)
Matthew 18 (Listen – 4:25)
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Jesus…turned everything upside down. Surely, shouldn’t the servants be washing their master’s feet?
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But we rely, Lord, not on our striving, but on Jesus Christ…Jesus is the Blessed One, whose leaf does not wither.