JESUS IS THE CENTER

Monday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time           

            Today’s gospel reading is calling us to a radical rethinking and reconsideration of our life. It tells us that if we wish to follow Jesus, first, we must be willing to make sacrifices with little concern for personal comfort. Second, we must give the kingdom of God absolute priority, especially when conflicts of interest arise. Third, we must make an unswerving commitment to his mission.

            This is Jesus’ way of compelling us to name our priorities. Either we give our whole life to Jesus or reject him. We cannot be neutral about him – or wishy-washy. From this comes a great theme in the Christian tradition: namely, the theme of detachment and clarification of motive.

            Robert Barron explains this principle in this way: “When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then, everything else finds its place around him and in relation to him.” “And anything that will assert itself and take his central position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.” That is the principle: Jesus is the Center and our everything. Now, we must arrange the whole of our life around that Center. Is there anyone or anything that has taken the place of Jesus at center of our life? Is it really Christ who is at the center of our life?

            If we believe that Jesus is the only Son of God, we must put everyone else and everything else aside in order to walk freely, faithfully, and completely with him. Our families, our loved ones, our friends, our partners and lovers must not take Jesus away from the center of our life. They must help us fix our eyes on Jesus. Our occupations, jobs, professions, careers, or businesses must not dislodge Jesus from the center of our mind. They must not distract us from “minding the main thing.” Our personal wants and desires, our own plans and ambitions, must not displace Jesus from the center of our heart. They must not encumber and hamper us in any way.

            We are made to realize in this passage what Gospel freedom means: “I must be free FROM attachments in order to find freedom FOR doing the will of God.” All of us are called to a life of detachment – detached from wealth, power, honor, prestige, and vainglory. Because, at the end of the day, they do not matter. Only God matters… only the will of God matters.

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