The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 2:1-11
Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40
Mark 9:30-37

A Reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me. (Mark 9:37)

Service with love is the message in today’s Gospel.

When Jesus told the Twelve that He would be handed over and killed, they began furtively arguing over who was the greatest and first among them. Jesus knew what they were trying to establish, so he began teaching them that to be first in His Father’s Kingdom, they must be last of all and servant of all. As an example, He put his arms around a little child to show them that serving out of real love means becoming like a child in relation to God.

What does Jesus mean by childlike?

I have a “special” cousin, whose younger sister describes as a “child of God.” Although middle-aged, he could easily have been the child Jesus wrapped His arms around in today’s Gospel. He’s childlike because of his open display of simplicity, humility and trust — qualities our Creator gives us all, but that we often find difficult to live out.

She tells of how growing up, her brother held a special place in their home. He was raised as one of them, equal in almost every way, but he had a special gift –- that of unconditional love. He had the gift of Heaven, happy just being himself, happy with all he had, never wanting anything and trusting that he’d always be cared for, like a human sparrow. He never judged and always accepted everyone. He had many other gifts and each was a lesson for them to master.

Sadly, over the holidays I lost my cousin, whose mountain-sized hugs and doting affection will stay with me the rest of my life. Even in dying, he showed his family that his life was purely an act of love for others. God called him home because his childlike example of love and service had been fulfilled.

Now, just like the Twelve, I know that to be “Jesus-like,” I must follow the example of the last but greatest little child, who I’m certain is now first in our Father’s Kingdom.

“The fruit of love is service.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

– Elizabeth A. Tichvon | etichvon@comcast.net

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