Do You Know What’s Truly Great?

Today’s Angelus message ought to make everyone feel a little less lost. Reflecting on Matthew’s gospels, Pope Benedict said:

reading this part of the story of Mark, it is clear that between Jesus and the disciples there is a deep interior distance; they are, so to speak, on two different wavelengths, so that the discourses of the Master are not understood, or are understood only superficially. The apostle Peter, after having shown his faith in Jesus, was permitted to reprove Him because He predicted that He must be rejected and killed. After the second announcement of the Passion, the disciples began to discuss who was the greatest among them (cf. Mk 9:34), and after the third, James and John asked Jesus to be able to sit at His right hand and at his left, when He was in glory (cf. Mk 10:35-40). But there are several other signs of this distance: for example, the disciples were not able to heal an epileptic boy, that afterwards Jesus heals with the power of prayer (cf. Mk 9:14-29); or when some children were presented to Jesus, the disciples reproved them, while Jesus, indignant, made them stay, and affirmed that only those who were like them could enter into the Kingdom of God (cf. Mk 10:13-16).

What does all this say to us? It reminds us that God’s logic is always “other” with respect to our own, as God Himself revealed through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts / nor are your ways my ways” (Is 55:8). For this reason, following the Lord requires of every person a profound conversion, a change in his or her way of thinking and living, it requires an opening of the heart to listen, in order to allow oneself to be enlightened and interiorly transformed. A key point in which God and man are different is pride: In God, there is no pride, because He is absolute fullness, and is completely given to love and to give live; in us, on the other hand, pride is deeply rooted and requires constant vigilance and purification. We, who are little, desire to appear great, to be the first, while God, who is truly great, does not fear to humble Himself and make Himself the last. The Virgin Mary is perfectly “in tune” with God: Let us invoke her with confidence, that she might teach us to faithfully follow Jesus along the way of love and humility.

He walks with us still — today and even on Monday — and calls us to simply open our hearts and pray that “Christ’s supreme act of love on Calvary [may] always be our true measure of greatness.” He will help us follow.


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