THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Monday of 15th week in Ordinary time, 2021
If anyone loves me
Dear friends in Christ, St John tells us that “God loves the world so much that he sent his only begotten Son” to save it. Jesus himself said, ‘there is no love greater than the giving of oneself for others.’ He exemplified that by giving his life for us. Now he demands that we choose him first.
In today’s gospel, (Matthew 10:34-11:1) Jesus tells us that true discipleship may bring a crisis of ultimate choice and loyalty. Followers of Jesus may have to choose between the love of father, mother, son, daughter or Jesus. It’s a discipleship that must be of absolute loyalty. Having to do things in a manner pleasing to Jesus and not the way the world dictates, no matter the relationship that exists between the person and you, could be a tug. It is a followership that comes with some inconveniences. A powerful reminder that family ties, as important as they are must only complement our belonging to the people of God and not stand in its way.
Jesus was very clear when he says, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” Vatican II says, “Man can only truly find himself when he makes a sincere gift of himself.” (Gaudiumet spes....GS 3) This is the mission of all, to become the sacrifice of the other. A missionary is only called to become the animator of those who would go out and make a gift of themselves for the good of the society in which they live. The more we give, the more we receive in return and the better we get at giving. As St Francis puts it, “It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Jesus also assured them: “He who receives you, receives me and he who receives me, receives him who sent me.” To receive a disciple of Jesus is to welcome his presence and that of the Father. John wrote in his gospel, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home…”(John 14:23) It comes down to our priorities; and Jesus is not saying you must cut yourself off from your family. What he is saying is that if you are forced to choose between your family and your God, then the choice must be for God. “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.”
Receiving Christ in the ones he has sent also means listening to the Church and obeying the church. Jesus handed the care of the kingdom to Peter and promised to be with it till the end of days.
Let us pray: O Lord, we give ourselves to you today, make us your instruments and through us renew the face of the earth. Amen.