DO WE REALLY PUT GOD FIRST IN OUR LIVES?
When Jesus told us to love our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds, He was not making a suggestion; He was giving us a command. We may think we are living out this command, but on further examination, are we really? Noted author Matthew Kelly writes: “The more we place Jesus at the center of our lives, the more our lives begin to make sense. It is simply impossible to make sense of life without the clarity that comes from placing Jesus at the center.”
Most of us reading this will attest that we love God, that we are thankful for the gift of His Son and His Son’s gift of Himself. Many of us are active in our efforts to support the mission and well being of our parish, and we profess our love for each other. We feel an even deeper love for those closest to us, especially our spouses, our children, our siblings and our parents, whether they are still with us or not. But when we think of those we love, we mostly have someone we can see, are able to hug and have them in our midst. What about Jesus? Where is He in all of this? Do we put the activities and distractions of our busy lives, the worries of the culture in which we live, our financial futures, even our hobbies, before God? Our God is worthy of our focus in everything we do, in everything we say and everything we think. As difficult as it is to imagine loving God more than the lives and well being of those we love most here on earth, it is what we are called to do.
We will probably not be called upon to prove our love of God above all else as did Abraham, who was asked to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, or those suffering in countries where parents are forced to watch their children and spouses brutally martyred for refusing to renounce Christ; but it is that kind of love that transcends the definition as most of us understand it. Will any of us be asked to give our children back to God as Abraham did? Probably not. But we will be asked to give of the first fruits our labors, to forego that football game or to make the extra effort to make it to Mass when we’ve been up late the night before. Do we recognize the things that are taking the place of God in our lives? There is a cost to discipleship, are we willing to pay that price? Jesus was.