I recently chatted with a young woman who had just completed a grueling music examination. She spoke of the long hours she spent alone in a soundproof room, doing scales and practicing her repertoire over and over, thinking often about the fun she was missing with her friends. She knew, though, that in order to pass her exam her focus had to be completely on her music.
It’s that same kind of focus and dedication that Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel when he speaks about hating our loved ones, carrying our crosses, and giving up everything, even our lives. He’s telling us to let nothing—not even very good things like family and love—get in the way of our willingness to follow him. Our first priority, in everything we do, must be our relationship with Jesus.
If we look at the choices that we make each day, we’ll see the many ways we can and do put God first. Think of a construction worker who refuses to use sub-standard materials to cut costs: what’s first here, money…or God? Think of a teenager who stands up against a bully, even though she risks being ostracized: what’s first here, popularity…or God?
Each time we celebrate Eucharist, we are given an opportunity to commit ourselves once again to putting God first in our lives. May today’s “Amen” resound with the strength of our commitment!
Teresa Whalen Lux