To one of these little ones
Jesus is not talking about children. The little ones are adult missionaries. Jesus calls them little not to belittle but rather to convey what they all know to be the case. In the eyes of others, they will be of no great significance.
The little ones are little because they have handed over the means by which they might loom large. They are vulnerable—vulnerable because part of the mission as Jesus describes it earlier on in Chapter 10 is to live like Jesus, as though nothing, save one’s relationship with God, is to be defended at all costs.
I wonder where it would take me if I more consciously incorporated “little one” my sense of identity and purpose. That wondering leads me to ask: Is it or is it not already a part of how I view the becoming of a disciple?
Says one spiritual leader: “A DISCIPLE is a person who experiences the forgiveness and acceptance of God, follows the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit, AND WHO shares in the life and witness of a community of disciples, including Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, serves in some form of ministry every day, participates in God’s suffering and transformation of the world, anticipates a future life in the presence of God, AND WHO THEREBY yearns to lead others to become disciples (M. Coyner).”
Bishop Sharma Lewis of Virginia recently put it this way: A disciple of Jesus is a lifelong learner who influences others to serve.
As for how those descriptions would make you or me a little one: I think it rides on how much of our selves we give to that way of life. Jesus asked the twelve to wage it all and the one who does that, well, she will never be the next big thing nor big and bad on the world stage. Little One Rachel May: Allow me this spell of Wonder Woman delight—I just saw the film—and then I’ll try it on for size.