The Path to Greatness, 26th Monday (I), September 28, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs
September 28, 2015
Zec 8:1-8, Ps 102, Lk 9:46-50


To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click here: 


The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Jesus gives the path to greatness, receiving little children in his name, as we would receive him. Infants are not a symbol here of innocence but of the inability even to remember what you’ve done or to thank you. To be great in God’s kingdom, we need to receive people selflessly. This is the way we become little in the kingdom, humbler. And once we get good at receiving children in this way, we can receive everyone better, including those who are exorcising in the Lord’s name who are not a visible part of the apostolic band. If one is seeking to advance himself rather than receive and serve others, that’s when he’ll be insecure at others’ doing Christ’s work.
  • In the first reading we see an image of the Kingdom of God when God reestablishes a “faithful city.” In it we see “Old men and old women,” with walking staffs in their hand, sitting in the streets of Jerusalem. It’s also “filled with boys and girls playing it its streets.” Pope Francis says that Christ’s kingdom is one in which we care for those on the extreme of life, the very young and very old, and once we do that we’re able to receive everyone else on the inside.
  • St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions were those who lived these lessons, receiving the faith and preparing others to receive Christ and others in the Lord’s name. Today’s martyrs are among the 35,000 Japanese Marytrs (from only 300,000 Christians) who perished in Japan between 1597-1639. They received kids as gifts and prepared them to give their lives as gives. Kids were taught in making the sign of the Cross to embrace God Father, Son and Holy as well as the Cross that they might give us as the immediate way to enter into their life. When they came to Mass, they grasped that Christ was giving his body and blood for them and they might in turn be called to give their body and blood for him in return. When they prayed the Rosary, they knew that in order to live the Glorious Mysteries, they first needed prayerfully to enter into the Sorrowful Mysteries. The preparation extended to practical instruction as well. Mothers trained their kids how to be faithful at the supreme hour. They taught them how to uncover their necks, fold their hands and look to heaven, as well as what to pray when their own hour came. They breast-fed them the stories of the heroic deaths of the apostles, the early Christian martyrs, and the Japanese martyrs before of them, and inspired them to strive for similar greatness. They paid attention to what they heard and they knew that Jesus was with them at that time. They were able to remain faithful at the time of martyrdom because they had been faithful in so many little things along the way and never pretended that such an end was not a part of the faith they signed up for. They received everyone, and everything, as a gift from God and tried to respond with faith.
  • The best way we’re trained to receive everyone as Christ wants is here at Mass. Jesus says that if we receive infants in his name, we receive him and in him the Father. As we prepare to receive Jesus here, he helps us to learn how to receive all those made in his image and likeness!

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 ZEC 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

Responsorial Psalm PS 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23

R. (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Alleluia MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”