OLBH Bulletin Cover for June 28, 2020, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As I write this, I am in the second week at the School of Spiritual Direction. As part of this program, we are required to pray with assigned scriptures and other spiritual writings for three hours a day for the entire two weeks. This is in addition to the five plus hours of classes and meetings with small groups, spiritual directors, and facilitators. One of the scriptures assigned tonight, through God’s providence, happened to overlap with the Gospel reading this weekend. In this Gospel from Matthew, it says “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
As I prayed with this scripture, some questions came to mind. “Am I to love God more than my parents, the ones that created me?” Yep, that is exactly what it says because it was God who also created you. “Am I to love God more than my children?” Yes, you are because God also created them and gave them to you. The Gospel continues, “and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” These are some hard things Jesus is telling his apostles. So maybe he is just talking about the apostles. Nope. He is talking about all his disciples, all his followers.
While we certainly should honor our parents and love our children, we also should not put them above God. There have been times since my ordination, when I missed visits to my kids, family reunions, and other events because of my love and commitment to God. Some of those have been crosses I have needed to carry. But there are crosses individuals and families need to carry also. And hopefully, during these unusual times over the past several months, you have had an opportunity to reexamine your life. Is getting to Sunday Mass a priority over getting to some sporting, social or some other type of event? Do you pray the prayer before all meals, even in public restaurants? Do you avoid working and shopping on most Sundays to keep the commandment? Do you teach your children and grandchildren to be generous with the gifts God has given you?
There are many, many more ways of showing God your love. God wants to give you everything you need to begin to experience the joy and peace He so desires for you. He wants to hear about your day every day. He craves to flood you with His mercy and healing in the Sacrament of Confession, you simply need to ask for it. He gave us His son Jesus to nourish your spirit and to draw you into a deeper relationship with him. So take some time right now, or later today or tomorrow if necessary, to find one thing you can change this week, to let God know, He is your greatest love.