Jesus teaches about true greatness and the spiritual combat. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Humility so he can admit his own sin and ask for Jesus’ help and by practicing the Virtue of Defense so he can always guard against the attacks of Satan.
26th Week in Ordinary time – Monday – Lk 9:46-50
After rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith and offering a veiled prophecy of His Passion, the disciples argue among themselves about which of them is the greatest. Perhaps insecure, and certainly still far from their future saintly holiness, the disciples’ selfishness blinds them to the reality that they are in the presence of God.
Nothing is hidden from Jesus’ watchful gaze and omniscience. Always ready to use circumstances to teach, Jesus does the unexpected: to address the issue of greatness, Jesus calls a lowly child to Himself. In a rebuke to the disciples who seek greatness, Jesus paradoxically uses a child to teach that the humility of a child is the key to greatness in Heaven. He emphatically states that men must protect and provide for children, and in doing so, men serve God the Father and the Son.
John, the youngest of the disciples and called a Son of Thunder by Christ Himself (Mk 3:17), demonstrates his combative nature by wanting to stifle someone else who is casting out demons in the Name of Jesus. John’s troubling reason is that the other exorcist does not follow “us”; this is in contrast to following “Jesus.” John has not yet realized his own smallness and that all power and glory comes exclusively from Jesus. Jesus rebukes John, saying that those who perform acts in His name, evidently the exorcist was successful and Jesus approves, are not to be prevented. Jesus also reveals the nature of the ongoing Spiritual Combat by speaking in terms of those who are “for”, and “against us.” Interestingly, Jesus acknowledges the growing Church (“us”) and is beginning to grant authority to the disciples to take some acts on His behalf.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, after explicitly revealing to the Apostles that He is going to be killed, mysteriously knows of their private prideful arguments about “who is the greatest”, responds not with just anger but with patient Meekness (a part of Temperance), mercifully teaching them to imitate His own Divine Humility (also a part of Temperance).
Humbly ask Jesus to help you battle sin
Realize: Like the Apostles foolishly vied to be considered the greatest, today’s culture promotes self-esteem, self-promotion, and the vice of pride; Jesus absolutely rejects the Vice of Pride, one of The 7 Deadly Sins, and confirms that only those who embrace a deep humility, like the innocent humility of a child, are worthy to be considered for Heaven.
Believe: Reflect upon the Vice of Pride (CCC 1866) and the need for a Humble Poverty of Heart (CCC 2544-2547, 2559).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Humility, help me build the Virtue of Humility (a part of Justice) so I see how often I fail in my attempts to resist sin, I recognize my desperate need for Your help, and I humble myself before You and ask for Your help in my battle against sin.
Vigilantly defend against the attacks of Satan
Realize: In contrast to the modern world which fictionalizes the demonic (horror movies) or disregards it, Jesus confirms that Satan and demons are real, they possess and torture men and must be cast out.
Believe: Reflect upon the protection against Satan in the Sacrament of Baptism (CCC 1237) and through Exorcism (CCC 1673).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Protector, help me build the Virtue of Defense/Protection (a part of Justice) so I recognize the reality of Satan and Satan’s constant attempts to seduce me and my family, and I protect myself and my loved ones with the help of the Church from the attacks of Satan.