If you remember from last week’s readings, Peter is scolded by Jesus because he is thinking too much like a corporate officer than one who wants to follow Jesus. Our readings today speak to us about ambition. You know, there is nothing more heroic in this world than ambition. With a good balance between business experience and ambition (with proper funding)…“the world can be your oyster.” Ambition can be a force for achieving good or it can be destructive. But, in this world…it takes a balance.
However, Jesus teaches something different when it comes to achieving the Kingdom of God. In the First Reading this week, we see the negative side of ambition; those with no faith are insulted by people who sincerely practice their beliefs in their daily lives, so much so they intend to target them and bully them with physical violence and intimidation.
And, in contrast, Jesus rebukes His disciples because they were arguing about which one of them in the group was the greatest. Jesus brings to them a child and says: you must be like a child. (Children, much like today, had no rights and were treated little better than servants. In other words, they trusted the adults in the room. In their innocence, they are taught to be hard and distrusting.) For Jesus to suggest they be like children would have been puzzling. Jesus is looking for servant leaders; people who don’t lord it over others…but put themselves at the service of others. As disciples of Jesus, we are called in faith, to trust the Adult in the room…God! And, to do as the Adult teaches us to act, we can know we can return to our original innocence. It is a concept we need to constantly keep before our own minds, especially in the 21st century, as we try to be His followers. Humble service is called for, not ambitious titles and positions.