How fitting is the 1st Reading for today, St. Teresa of Calcutta's Canonization? I remember telling my mother that there are times when I can't wait to get to heaven, because I want answers to some questions...questions that we all have, but it's not for us to know until we join Jesus in heaven. As it says in Wisdom 9:13, how can we even "conceive what the LORD intends"? It boils down to trust. Trust in God's plans for you, for He knows what is best for us.
In the Second Reading, Paul speaks of another prisoner who, I'm guessing, is quite a bit younger. He wants this man to be a follower of Jesus, but, it would appear, hasn't been chosen by Jesus just yet. I took this passage to mean that Jesus calls us to be followers...when we're ready. Onesimus wasn't at that point yet. I saw myself in this Reading: falling away from the Church (more than once), but having God patiently waiting for me work it out and come back to Him.
The first look at the Gospel seemed a little strong: Are we really supposed to "hate" our family members before we can be true followers of God? The Gospel continues by emphasizing that we have to have a firm foundation before we can follow Christ. That comes not only through praying and reading the Bible, but from living our life as followers. We all have crosses to bear, but we should give all the bearings to God. Does God really want me to "renounce all my possessions"? While I think some are truly called to do that, it's important for us to not treat our possessions as gods. Turn off the tv (which I need to do more of), get off the internet (which I need to do more of), and limit social media (which I really need to do more of!) and turn to Jesus.
During the homily, Father talked about priorities. It's important for us prioritize our lives. Jesus knew that all of the excitement about Him was going to die down. (Think about the big headlines in the news...it eventually dies down and the media picks up another headline. What seemed so important 1 week is forgotten.) We are called to "focus on the reality of the end". Our possessions are to be used on our journey, not to be the journey. We are to set aside everything and make Him our #1 priority. When it seems tough, trust that He is walking with us.
The reflections that I read went along with what Father said. USCCB's main point is to make the demands of the Kingdom your #1 priority. ePriest suggested that the word "renounce" is a better interpretation than "hate" (Luke 14:26). "Only God should be the absolute center of my life."
I read an article yesterday about St. Mother Teresa going through "dry spells" with her faith. Since I'm going through a bit of one myself, I was intrigued that saints go through them, too. She trudged through those periods by praying and continuing her work...not giving into satan's pull. That's really what I believe it is: satan is trying to pull us away from our faith. My priest told me once that feeling a pull means you're getting closer to God, because the devil wouldn't come around if you weren't getting closer. Show me 1 person who has never been through a dry spell, and I'll show you Jesus.
With the beginning of the college football season this weekend, we (who follow college football) can be all caught up in the rankings. At the end of our lives, does it really matter where your team was ranked? Isn't it more important to make God #1 in your life? My goal this week is to make God #1 in my life. All I do is for the greater honor & glory of God!