Loving God Above All

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Readings for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Saints for Today

Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.”  Matthew 10:37-38

Jesus explains an interesting consequence of choosing to love family members more than God.  The result of loving a family member more than God is that one is not worthy of God.  This is a strong statement meant to evoke serious self-reflection.

First, we should realize that the only way to authentically love one’s mother or father, son or daughter, is to first love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  Love of one’s family and others must flow from this pure and total love of God.

For that reason, we should see Jesus’ warning as a call to make sure we are not only loving Him fully, but also a call to make sure we fully love our family by allowing our love of God to become the source of our love of others.

How is it that we may violate this command of our Lord?  How would we love others more than Jesus?  We act in this sinful way when we allow others, even family members, to take us away from our faith.  For example, on a Sunday morning while you are getting ready to go to church, a family member tries to convince you to skip Mass for some other activity. If you concede so as to appease them, then you are “loving” them more than God.  Of course, in the end, this is not an authentic love of the family member since a decision was made contrary to the will of God.

Reflect, today, upon how you can truly love those in your family by turning your heart and soul first toward the love of God.  Allow this complete embrace of the love of God to become the basis of love in every relationship.  Only then will good fruit come forth from the love of others.

Lord, I give to You my whole mind, heart, soul and strength.  Help me to love You above all things and in all things and, from that love, help me to love those whom You have put in my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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