Our readings today begin with an exhortation from St. Paul, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted in Him and built upon Him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Col 2:6-7) Caryll Houselander wrote of these words, “When one says that the unifying idea in our lives, which will give stability and the power of thinking, is God, many shrink back, because they fancy that people who think of God must be narrow bigots and bores.” He goes on to explain that this statement is false and an obsession with God has the very opposite effect of every other obsession. An obsession by nature excludes everything else but itself. It causes a person to turn inward and shut out everything else.
However, an obsession with God flings wide every door in the mind and heart and reaches outward. It overcomes everything with His love. An obsession with God encompasses everything, and it enlarges the heart so that everything matters. An obsession with God enables us to see who we are in relation to God and surrender to His ways. The outcome is a purpose filled life that elevates others around us.
Jesus shows us in the Gospel how we live obsessed with God. We spend time in prayer, sometimes all night, seeking God. This is especially important when we are going to make big decisions. Jesus spends all night in prayer before He calls His disciples. He chose twelve, whom He named apostles. The number twelve is symbolic of the twelve sons of Jacob that were representatives of the Old Covenant Israel. Jesus gathers 12 patriarchs to establish His New Covenant people in the Church.
These apostles will preach the Gospel and lead the early Church. They are emissaries invested with Christ’s royal and priestly authority. Sometimes the examples of these inspiring martyr-saints can cause us to shy away from the call to follow Christ thinking they are in a category of holiness that we cannot begin to approach. The reality, however, is that we are all called not only to sainthood but to be disciples of Jesus in the world, continuing the missionary work they began two thousand years ago.
After Jesus calls His apostles, He began to teach and heal the crowd that assembled. People from near and far, both Jewish and Gentile, gathered closely to hear His teaching and seek His healing. They desperately wanted touch Jesus. Everyone pressed in on Him. Everyone wanted to be part of His movement. Lord, equip me with the desire, zeal and fortitude to be obsessed with You and Your ways. He me to share my holy obsession with everyone I encounter, so they too will desire You.