The Least are the Greatest

Luke 9: 46-50
Zec 8:1-8 / Psa 102

For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.
(Luke 9:48)

If serving God is our intention,
Learn what desire for glory means;
If greatness is our sole ambition,
Beware: pride is the root of all sins.

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the One Who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Then John said, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we forbade him, because he is not one of our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:46-50)


John, the brother of Andrew, who reveled in being the “beloved apostle”, and who was probably one of the “contenders in being the greatest”, thought that he could deflect the rebuke of Jesus for their lack of humility by reporting that someone who was not of their company was casting out demons, and they had tried to stop him. For that mistake, they earned another rebuke for their “professional jealousy”. Jesus wisely advised them: “Do not forbid him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

One of our not so honorable senators thought that he could deflect the publicity on his involvement in the “Pork Barrel” scam by “dropping his own bombshell” during his privilege speech in the senate. His arrogance and total lack of remorse even in the face of glaring evidences against him (which he failed to disprove) have now given rise to more investigations of his unexplained wealth, non-disclosure in his statement of assets and liabilities (SALN), and unpaid taxes. He should have kept his mouth shut. Proverbs 10:9 says, “He who walks honestly walks securely, but he whose ways are crooked will fare badly.” It also says, “When pride comes, disgrace comes, but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov.11:2). No wisdom in this proud, arrogant man.

St. Paul’s humility is the example we all must follow. He wrote to the Philippians: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely… But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philip.1:15-18)

God alone knows our true motives, and He desires all of us to strive like St. Paul to take the path of humility and service to achieve holiness. In the mass we attended yesterday, the celebrant gave an interesting homily on the meaning of being holy. He said the word “holy” can be an acronym for the virtues of humility, obedience, listening and yielding. All of these our Lord Jesus demonstrated in His short ministry as a man. No man as powerful as He was lived more humbly, (as the son of a carpenter) obeyed completely the Father’s will, listened to the needs of people, and yielded His very life for our salvation. These qualities, by the way, we also find in the little children. The reason perhaps why our Lord regards them as the greatest.

Help us, dear Father in our journey to become like little children, striving to be humble like our Lord Jesus, obedient to all Your commands, listening to Your Word in the Bible, and yielding to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. For as our Savior advised us, we must be holy as You are holy. Amen.

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