In our Gospel this week we are confronted with the loneliness of Jesus. He takes his closest companions to one side to tell them about the way he is going to suffer and eventually die out of love for them. These disciples seem not to hear Jesus and instead end up quarreling about who is the greatest among them. Jesus responds with patience, putting aside his concern for his own destiny in favor of once again teaching and preparing his disciples. He does this using a little child. The goodness, the innocence, and the trust of a small child – these are the qualities that define a true disciple, not self interest and ambition.
All of us have of course experienced this loneliness, the sense of being misunderstood, not listened too, a lack of intimacy. Good to remember then that Jesus has been there, and our friendship with Him can be an antidote for the isolation that we encounter in life’s journey.