Weekly Word Blog
Sometimes we are distracted. Sometimes the homilist is a poor communicator. Sometimes we just were not the target audience. I know, life happens, but that doesn’t mean your not looking to get something from the Gospel. Everyday Catholic is here to help. The Weekly Word blog and Podcast are designed for people like us. People who are looking for a little help to dive in.
In Mark 12:28-34, a scribe comes to Jesus and asks, “which is first of all the commandments?” In a sense, he is asking, “which commandment is the critical one? You know, the thing I should be focused on.” Jesus’ answer is crystal clear. First, love God. Second, love your neighbor. There is no wiggle room in it. He doesn’t just say love God. He says to love God with your heart, your soul and your mind. That is your body, your spirit, and your intellect. Everything that you are is called to love and serve the Lord.
On weary mornings the alarm can’t be loud enough or the coffee strong enough. The shower can’t be hot enough or long enough. On weary mornings you stand in front of the mirror, and all you can see looking back is a mask. Sometimes it’s pain over loss, frustration over things that seem out of your control, failure where you feel like you should have been better or any number of other things. On weary mornings it is hard to hear God say, “you are my beloved” and all too easy to hear the devil’s whispers of “you will never be enough.”
Read the Gospels, and you will see that the relationship the disciples had with Jesus was special. It is clear that Jesus was the master, and they were his students. But, to imagine that their relationship was cold and mechanical would be a significant error. Jesus loved the Apostles, and the Apostles loved Jesus. That is demonstrated in Mark 10:35 when James and John, whom Jesus called the “sons of thunder,” come to Jesus and say “Teacher, we want you to do for us anything that we ask of you.” The question almost seems scandalous. Two creatures approach the creator and ask him to “do whatever we ask of you.” Perhaps the original Greek conveys it better, but in reading the English translation, it doesn’t come off so much as a question as it does a demand.
Jesus’ response might surprise you. He doesn’t retort “How dare you!” There is no admonishment at all. Instead, he just replies, “what do you wish me to do for you?”
Jesus example shows us that marriage is more than what you are getting out of the relationship and it is about more than “feeling alive.”
It is a choice that is much stronger and more meaningful than that. Sometimes love means suffering for the sake of another. Love is more about giving than it is about receiving. Sometimes love is a fight, not with the other person (although sometimes we do need to argue), but for the other person. And often, more often than they will tell you in marriage prep, the person you need to fight is yourself.
As a modern Christian, I think we have become a little desensitized to the majesty of our Lord. We are familiar with Jesus, sure. If you ask most Catholics, they would tell you they know all about him. But really, the Jesus that most of us conceive of, well, he isn’t actually Jesus. Not the one who we read about in scripture. The popular conception of Jesus lacks the vitality and power of the real person. If we are honest, he is kind of wimpy…
Jesus knew the importance of speaking to large crowds. He knew the importance of miracles and prophecy. But, he also invested in relationships with an intimate group of followers. Maybe its time we added that to our Everyday Catholic lives as well.
If I am honest, most of the time I am just like Peter. I am good at declaring who God is, “Jesus is Lord!” But, when it comes down to it, I want my plan for my salvation, not his. When God begins to speak hard truths into my life, when he calls me to pick up the cross and follow, more often than not, I pull him aside and rebuke him. “Lord, it isn’t supposed to be like this. You're letting me down. Pull it together.”