The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 26th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 9:46-50. 

After rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith and offering a veiled prophecy of His Passion which the disciples don’t understand, the disciples begin to argue among themselves about which of them is the greatest. Perhaps insecure and certainly still far from their future saintly holiness, the disciples’ selfishness blinds them to the reality that they are in the presence of God.  

Nothing is hidden from Christ’s watchful gaze and omniscience.  Always ready to use circumstances to teach, Christ does the unexpected: to address the issue of greatness, Christ calls a lowly child to Himself.  In a rebuke to the disciples who seek greatness, Christ paradoxically uses a child to teach that the humility of a child is the key to greatness in Heaven. He emphatically states that men must protect and provide for children (receive); in doing so, men serve the Father and the Son. 

John, the youngest of the disciples and called a Son of Thunder by Christ Himself (Mark 3:17), demonstrates his combative nature by wanting to stifle someone else who is casting out demons in the Name of Jesus. John’s troubling reason is that the other exorcist does not follow “us”; this in contrast to following “Jesus.”  John has not yet realized his own smallness and that all power and glory comes exclusively from Christ. Jesus rebukes John, saying that all who authentically (evidently the exorcist was successful and Christ approves) perform acts in Christ’s Name are not to be prevented.  Interestingly, Christ is beginning to grant authority to the disciples to prevent or not prevent.   

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has personal knowledge of the mysteries of Heaven and explains the Father’s personal attention to and love of every soul. Christ also affirms the reality of demonic activity and the need for exorcism. Divine King, Christ rebukes even His beloved disciple John when necessary. Divine Teacher, Christ confirms the great spiritual battle in the world and describes how Christians must be in unity.  

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Like John and the disciples who argue about who is the greatest (Mark 9:30-37), men arrogantly forget that only Christ is King.  Reflect on Christ’s greatness and the fact that you (like every man) are very, very small. 

2) In contrast to the post-modern culture that worships prideful self-esteem, Christ’s confirms that deep humility is a requirement for Heaven. Reflect upon the sin of Pride (CCC 1866), the need to approach Christ with a Poverty of Heart (CCC 2544-2547; 2559) and pray for Christ to help you grow in humility. 

3) In contrast to a modern world that fictionalizes the demonic (horror movies) or disregards it, Christ confirms that Satan/demons are real, they possess men and must be cast out. Review the power that Jesus grants to the Church to cast out Satan/demons in the Sacrament of Baptism (CCC 1237) and through Exorcism (CCC 1673) and pray for Christ to continually help you reject Satan’s daily temptations.