‘Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony,’ writes St James in today’s Second Reading. And his words are borne out by the behaviour of the twelve apostles. Even as Jesus is warning them that suffering and death lie ahead for him, they are arguing about which of them is ‘the greatest.’ The apostles have failed to understand the Lord’s teaching.
Jesus illustrates the point in a dramatic way. He gathers the Twelve around him, and shows them a little child – a person with no power or status. Jesus tells the disciples that they should welcome the powerless in his name. For the disciples of Christ, leadership means service, and the poor and powerless have a special place in God’s kingdom. We should not be ambitious for worldly ‘greatness.’