Readings for Monday July 13, 2009
First Reading: Exodus 1:8-14,22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 124
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1
"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; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-38)
In today's gospel we are told the conditions of discipleship. We are told that if we love any thing more than Christ then we are not worthy of Him. We are also told that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him, and that those who lose their life for His sake will be worthy. While we read these words and we think, "okay, that makes sense I think I can do that." But these is a very big difference between understanding these words and actually living them out.
Christ says, "whoever love 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." This means loving God first and foremost in our lives, but while we may say that we love God most, our actions and works may not reflect this. I can tell you that this is a very hard passage to read, being a new father the line about loving son or daughter more than Him definitely catches my eye. I love my baby girl very much, and she certainly is a very big priority in my life, but in my mind always I must make a conscious choice to not put her or my wife in front of God. My wife and I have both talked about the importance of loving God first, and we always want to make sure that we are supporting each other in this task. However, I also know that when I make the choice to love God first, my love for my wife and child do not go away, in fact by loving God first I am given grace to love them more and to love them better ... as Christ does.
By choosing to follow Christ first, we must remember that we are not giving anything up, but rather we are gaining. The decision to live out these conditions of discipleship involves a real love of God and a choice to sacrifice everyday for Him. Yes it will be hard and very difficult, but it is by His way that we can truly find our lives.
May we all continue to say yes to these conditions each moment of our lives.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for this day. Lord, we know that it is by following you that we can gain eternal life, Lord give us the strength and courage to follow you know matter what. Lord, help us to not hold back anything from you so that we might love you with all that we have and all that we are. Lord, you are love yourself, help us to love as you call us to. We pray for our missionaries and all of their great work. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.