Have we ever had to listen to someone’s accomplishments or the things they have, to listen to them honor themselves, as we are tempted to have a little bit of jealousy or at least feel a little insecure? Our youth brag about the sports they played, the toys they have. Later on, our teens brag about the parties they went to; boys, the number of girls they kiss; or girls, how old their boyfriend is; not a good thing. As adults we brag about the money we make, the college degrees we have, or the vacations that we take. Even grandmas, sorry grandmas please don’t drive me out, even grandmas get into the habit of bragging about their grandchildren. We brag about worldly success, even our sins. Are these the sources of our self-esteem; do these make a life truly great?
As the twelve were walking with Jesus, they were discussing between themselves which of them was the greatest. In that culture, to be great would mean to have many servants. If you had a person to dress you, to cook for you, to manage your household, then you were great. Jesus offers a completely different vision. If we are to be truly great, we will be servant of all.
Jesus told his disciples, if you receive a child in my name, you receive me. Now in that culture, children had very little status. If you were interested in worldly honor, you wouldn’t place yourself at the service of the child, you would instead serve an emperor, a senator, or a general. A child had no way to pay you back; a child had no honor or power to share. No, if you were receiving a child, you were not interested in payment; but Jesus says, if you do this, you receive me, the highest payment. And not only me, the one who sent me, God the Father, the source of all life and joy.
So what truly makes us rich in life? It is service. What do we receive as payment for services rendered? God himself. And this payment is not only made in heaven. No, Jesus used the present tense, if you receive a child, you receive me, here and now. If we want to experience God, we need to place ourselves at the service of others. If our intention is to help someone; God helps us help them. We experience God helping us to help them. This experience of God is worth more than all the riches in the world. Take Wisdom for example, God will make a person wise when that person’s intention is to help others with his wisdom. He will not make a man wise if his intention is to be honored by others because of wisdom. When we seek to help others, God gives himself to us. He leads us, guides us, consoles us, and strengthens us. If we place ourselves in the service of others; there is more for him to do. If there is more for him to do; then his presence and activity in us is greater.
To be a Catechist, this is one of the ministries where God is present and active. Catechists seek to show our children that God truly is worthy of our love; that he truly is the gift of all gifts. God gives Catechists what they are to share; his very self. Let us all be motivated to serve so that we all have a richer experience of God in the world, even here and now.
*Given on Catechist Sunday