BEING WITH JESUS

Friday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time               

            “Whoever is not with me is against me…”

            Today’s gospel passage talks about being “with Jesus” and “against Jesus.” It is easy, even convenient, to say that “we are with Jesus” – that he is the Lord whom we follow, worship and serve. But is this manifested in our daily life? Is it demonstrated in how we live our lives, conduct ourselves, relate with others, treat our subordinates, use our time and talents, spend our energy and resources, perform our duties, direct our affairs, and even in how we use social media?

            Our words may be saying that “we are with Jesus” but our deeds and actions may be showing otherwise. We may be making ourselves and others believe that we are with Jesus – but in reality, we are more loyal to another person and we are more willing to sacrifice for that person. As Christians, our lives should be about Christ – about God and the things of God. But, more often, we are full of ourselves. We buy into the “selfie culture” of our time.

            In our honest effort to find out whether we are really with Jesus, we have to ask: Have our souls and lives been broken into by the kingdom of God? Or do we live with divided hearts, serving other idols: such as the ‘gods’ of selfishness and greed, of money and power, of comfort and convenience, of desires and pleasures, of corruption and deception, of materialism and consumerism.

            To be “with Jesus” means accepting him as our Lord and Savior…it means embracing his way of life…it means sharing in his mission of proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God…it means following him and being faithful to him to the end. To be with Jesus is not just about being baptized as a Christian. It is also about living by the Christian values of justice and fairness, of honesty and decency, of simplicity and contentment, of mercy and forgiveness, of compassion and charity. To be with Jesus is not just about invoking the name ‘Jesus’ in prayer. It is also about using the power of the name ‘Jesus’ to fight evil, to free those who are oppressed by poverty, and to help others have a better life. To be with Jesus in not just about receiving him in the Holy Communion. It is also about bringing him to others: to be food for the hungry, relief for the suffering, healing for the sick.

            What the Lord Jesus asks of us is our undivided fidelity to him. He demands our total commitment and not just our partial involvement. “Whoever is not with me is against me.”

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