21st February – St Peter Damian

The following is a reflection on today’s gospel (see below) from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ website. (It is sobering to consider what it says about children and what our pro-choice culture thinks about preborn children’s right to life.)

jesus childrenIn the gospels Jesus very often identifies with those who had little or no social status at that time. In this morning’s gospel reading he identifies himself with a child. In the culture of that time, children had no social standing, no power or influence. They were valued for who they could become rather than for who they were. They were considered among the least. Yet, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘whoever welcomes one of these children in my name, welcomes me’. He was trying to teach his disciples a lesson. They just had an argument as to which of them was the greatest, who among them was the most important as the world assesses importance. In identifying himself with a child, Jesus was declaring that social standing, importance, status, was not a value for him and was not one of the values of the kingdom of God that Jesus came to proclaim. What is of value in God’s kingdom is becoming servant of all, including servant of those whom the world does not consider of any standing or status, such as children. Like the disciples we can easily buy into a set of values that are not those of the kingdom of God. It is only by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and becoming more attentive to his Word that we allow his values to shape how we think and speak and act.

The Gospel reflection comes from Martin Hogan’s book: WEEKDAY REFLECTIONS: To know the love of Christ 2016/2017 published by  The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie

Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again’. But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all’. He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me’