Readings for Monday June 28, 2010
Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martryr
First Reading: Amos 2:6-10, 13-16
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50
Gospel: Matthew 8:18-22
When Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other shore. A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Mt 8:18-22)
In the movie "A Few Good Men", there is the infamous court scene where Tom Cruise's character has Jack Nicholson's character on the stand and he is demanding "the truth." Then Jack Nicholson's character says the great line, "You can't handle the truth!" This very popular line could probably be said to many Catholics today.
Many times in the Christian faith we want to downplay the challenges and difficulties that come about from living a life devoted to Christ. We prefer to hear the good stories of how Jesus is our friend, how he heals, and the miracles that he works. While it is important to realize that God wants us to know Him, and that He is capable of all things; we cannot only look at God as a nice guy who gives us things. We need to realize the truth ... that He is our Lord, our Creator, and our Redeemer; the man whose life, death and resurrection opened a door that had previously been shut by mankind. Although many of us have trouble handling the truth, we must realize that it is not something meant to inhibit us, but rather to set us free.
In today's gospel, Jesus does what He has, and always does ... He tells it like it is. I am sure that as is the case today, many of His disciples had trouble with His teachings. From today's gospel we learn two important truths. One is that if we follow Christ, it will not be a life of comfort; "foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." The second truth that we learn is that God asks us to put Him first. This means that we seek to follow Him and Him alone. He is meant to be the most important person in our lives, even more so than our spouses, children, family and friends.
When it comes to these truths, we can honestly say that they are hard teachings, and many of us have trouble handling this truth. But it is important to remember that it is the truth that sets us free. God's ways are meant to get us to heaven and to help us live the life that we were created to live. We each have a choice in this life, we can run from the truth or we can embrace it.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for all that you do. Lord, help us to embrace your truth, which is meant to bring us life, not to take away. Lord, you are such a good and loving God, help us to follow you no matter what, for you always have our best interests in mind. Lord, we love you and praise you. We pray for all those who have fallen away from the Church, may they be led back home to your glorious truth. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.