September 20, 2015
In today’s liturgy, we are presented with three significant role models. First the just one who functions like an external conscience confronting the sinful with their guilt. His truth, goodness, patience and gentleness become intolerable for the wicked that they wish to get rid of him. If he is of God, they reason, God will take care of him. Clearly, Jesus was such a role model for his contemporaries.
St. James in the second reading presents another role model, the believer who has learned wisdom. The wise role model is a sower of peace and cultivator of justice. Such a wise role model stands out in contrast to the unwise whose faults and failings generate conflicts, quarrels and war.
Jesus presents a third role model - a child. We can see in children their simplicity and innocence, their curiosity to know more, their faith in and readiness to accept what the elders say. Pointing to a child Jesus taught his disciples, both then and now, that the standards and policies of the kingdom or reign of God are quite different from any they had yet experienced. Therefore, the role models of the kingdom will not necessarily conform to human traditions and ordinary social norms. The disciples, like most of us, were not free from cravings of worldly success and personal gratification. By giving the example of the child, Jesus would have his disciples subject to the will of God and humble enough to be the servant to all. To change the mindset of the disciples might have been a tough task for Jesus as well as to the disciples. The good news is that both Jesus and the disciples succeeded. Jesus accepted the passion with childlike trust and innocence. The disciples changed their attitude to life and accepted Jesus as their role model, even at the cost of their own life. Is Jesus your role model?
Greatness consists in small acts of love. God makes them great who do small acts of love in the service of others. True wisdom manifests itself in humble service.