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An unidentified child, who was carried out from the crowd to meet Pope Francis, reaches out to touch the Pontiff's face during a parade on his way to celebrate Sunday Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Pope Francis is in Philadelphia for the last leg of his six-day visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

An unidentified child, who was carried out from the crowd to meet Pope Francis, reaches out to touch the Pontiff’s face during a parade on his way to celebrate Sunday Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Pope Francis is in Philadelphia for the last leg of his six-day visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It always makes me feel better when I read gospel texts about the less than perfect behavior/conversation of the disciples. Don’t get me wrong! I love to be inspired by their lives, but to know they were just “regular folks” keeps me striving when I do not feel my best self. Interestingly, the gospel this morning is Luke’s version of what we read from Mark yesterday (9:38-43). Luke begins (9:46-50) with recounting a dispute among the disciples themselves, however, and only later complaining about someone else “not of their company.” They were arguing about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts, (i.e. that they were being child-ishtook a child and placed it by his side and said to them…”The one who is least of all of you is the one who is the greatest.” In other words, the goal is to be child-like, not comparing or lording it over anyone but being happy with playing together with whatever toys are around and whoever comes along.

As I consider this, I see in my mind images of young children with Pope Francis this past week, totally delighted and open to him, as he was with them. I pray today for children who are becoming socialized in less positive ways at a younger and younger age, that their innocence and safety might be preserved and that we all might learn to emulate their sincerity and joy at being totally who they are in God’s sight and ours.

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