While Jesus’ words in the Gospel today may seem harsh, if we reflect on all the readings, we get a complete picture of what Jesus is asking of us as disciples.
In the Gospel, Jesus stresses that discipleship requires a person’s full effort and dedication. We must evaluate, know, and willingly accept the life changes necessary to become a disciple of Christ. A retreat leader once told me that Christ isn’t looking for cheerleaders, part-time substitutes, or spectators. Rather, Christ wants full participants. As disciples we must be willing to always pray, hear God instructing us, and follow through in obedience to His Will. Our will must be focused on doing His Will.
St. Paul in today’s passage from Romans teaches us that obedience to God’s commandments result in the only desirable outcome: to love one another. Our merciful Lord is not just loving but Love itself. Our love for others is our response as disciples to His love for us. Indeed, as Paul states, “love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Finally, our responsorial psalm provides us a picture of “blessedness.” To be “blessed” is to be in union with God. He provides the direction, and we act on His behalf. Blessedness starts with a reverent “fear of the Lord.” This gift of the Holy Spirit is cultivated in us when we seek and delight in His commands. Blessedness comes when we are merciful and act with justice. Mercy and justice must go together, so that God’s love can act through us. Blessedness comes when we act with great charity. Recognizing that our talents, treasure, and even the freedom of how we spend our time are gifts from God, we must use all of these in charitable and tangible acts of love toward our neighbors. Those who give their time, talent, and treasure lavishly to the poor see that their mission on this earth is to love others generously, especially those in need. This is how others meet and experience Christ’s love through us.
If we see the world through the eyes of Jesus, we see the needs of others and gladly use all our resources to help those in need. Jesus gave His life for us. Now it is our turn to give our life for others.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Who are you called to bring the love of Christ to today?