As we finish our Easter readings from the Acts of the Apostles, we see how both Peter and Paul commit their lives to the Lord. As a chapter of their lives comes to an end, they point us to the beginning of our final destination: eternal life!
In our best moments we know that we are works in progress – people growing through the ups and downs of life – and that we have to follow directions because some assembly is required. May we trust in the Lord to lead us through this life as we follow with all our heart.
There are several powerful points that surface in this week’s Scripture readings. Here are a few key thoughts:
1st Reading – Elisha seeks to follow Elijah
Psalm – “You are my inheritance, O Lord.”
2nd Reading – Paul reminds us that we are free in Christ to live in the Spirit
Gospel – Jesus invites, “Come follow me.”
It’s this notion of following the Lord that I’d like to focus on this week. What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ? What does it mean to say that he is the Lord of our lives? Consider these thoughts:
Christ is the #1 priority of our lives, above all else
We seek to follow his teaching and example in all things
In our weakness and sin, we strive to seek his forgiveness & mercy
We recommit our lives every day as his disciples
We open our hearts to grow daily in his grace
Practically, I’d like to suggest to key points to help us follow the Lord. First, what are the obstacles that are keeping me away from Jesus today? There are many things that can block our path to the Lord – distraction, fear, preoccupation, overly busy, exhaustion, worry – and sometimes we need to recognize these concerns and put them in perspective.
Second, what are the gifts that I bring to the Lord? God has blessed each one of us in unique and precious ways…how might we set our talents before the feet of Christ for his service in the world? How might we use our lives today to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to others?
The Lord said, “Come follow me.” As we embrace this invitation, may we offer our lives with complete conviction as walk with Jesus today.
Catholic Inspiration Archives
Note: This post was first published on June 20, 2016.
1st Reading – We have freedom to choose…good or evil, life or death
Psalm – “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!”
2nd Reading – Wisdom comes from the Spirit, hidden & mysterious
Gospel – Jesus establishes a new level of intensity for faith in God
The first reading from the Book of Sirach makes it clear that we have the freedom to make choices in our lives for good or evil, life or death. This concept of Free Will – that we are so free that we can reject even God himself – comes with sobering consequences: Those who choose life will find it, and those who choose destruction will find it…
The Psalm response encourages us to choose the Lord. As we seek to know the Lord through Prayer, Scripture, Fellowship and Sacraments we conform our hearts to Christ. Following the Lord means that we seek instruction, learn God’s commands, and then apply our faith in all aspects of our lives.
The second reading reveals the mystery of God’s wisdom, hidden through the ages and revealed in Christ, which is granted to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit – requested by Jesus and given by the Father – that our minds and hearts receive the Good News and act on it with conviction and power.
Finally, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus sets a new standard of living. Using four precepts of the Law of Moses, the Lord demands that we go farther than what was formerly prescribed:
Thou shall not kill now extends to reconciliation for any offense
Adultery now extends to all forms of lust
Divorce takes on a larger context
Making an oath now changes to meaning “Yes” and “No”
The Lord makes it clear that he is doing something new, building upon the precedent of the Law and moving far beyond it. Jesus calls his disciples to a deeper level of commitment, moving beyond the moral code to a morality that is written upon our hearts. We find ourselves more aware of the destructive power of sin, turning away from its snare and embracing a life in Christ.
And thus we find ourselves back at the first reading. We have a choice. No matter what has gone before we can make a break from the past and choose life! Today we seek Jesus and ask for the grace we need to choose Him with all our heart.