Instruments of Love
2 October 2017
The Gospel today articulates the disciples’ response to Jesus telling them that He will be ‘handed over’. This foreshadowing of the crucifixion was too much for the disciples to comprehend. What follows was Jesus’ instruction on the key to becoming instruments of love: as individuals and as communities.
As the disciples start to fight as to who was going to be seen as the ‘greatest’, Jesus knew what was going through their hearts and minds. To challenge their perspective, He placed a child in their midst, saying “whoever receives a child like this in my name, receives me, receives him who sent me. For the one who is least among you all is the greatest.”
The child represents all who are weak and powerless in the eyes of the world. To ‘receive’ such a person – to treat them with love, acceptance and dignity – is being an instrument of love on earth.
Children are the key to becoming a faith-filled individual. The devotion of a child to his father or mother is the devotion that all are called to have to Christ. To follow him with their gaze fixed on His, constantly learning from Him and content on His embrace. All Christians are called to model their faith on this childlike faith.
Similarly, how a father or mother treats their child is one of pure love. This love is the hallmark of the Christian faith – to look for the ‘child’ by seeking out the vulnerable and the powerless and raising them up. This is the life of Mother Teresa who went into the heart of the ‘children’ of India and did ‘no great thing, only small things with great love’ as she embraced everyone as a child of God.
The second part of the Gospel provides the key to Christian communities. The challenge Jesus’ puts before the disciples is to remove the elitist understanding of the mission of the Church, and to understand that ‘whoever is not against us, is for us’ in living out the call of Christ.
Different Christian communities are not set apart from the ‘others’. Whatever community one belongs to – whether it is a parish, ministry, movement or ecclesial community – does not give grounds to create a two-tiered community of ‘us’ and ‘them’. It is this mentality that hinders a believer to see the work of the Holy Spirit through those outside of community one belongs to.
This is not to say that the Catholic Church does not have a rich, beautiful tradition that invites all people to live out the life and mission of Christ – which should not be compromised. However, the Church does not have a monopoly on truth, with the Word of God – the logos that is the perfect articulation of reality from whence humanity was created – going beyond any human understanding. All of humanity is searching. All humanity is craving to live in this Truth.
Pray today for the childlike faith in Christ, being the hands of Christ to those in need and becoming an instrument of love to the world.
May all Christian communities come together in unity, as one Body of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit to live out the mission of the Church.