Dear Brother Knights,
I seem to have caused quite the controversy among some of our brothers when I penned a letter to our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pointing out this his politicizing of our order is not a good thing. I ask forgiveness for inadvertently dragging you all into this fracas, especially those of you who support Mr. Anderson’s (and Trump’s) actions and who clearly did not appreciate my letter. I wish to move beyond this controversy and not bring it up again.
This month, I have been struck with the readings of the day. Now, in Ordinary time, we have seen a change in tone from the last few weeks of the Easter season, which coincided so much with our early days of lock-down. We are getting used to this new normal and things like standing 2 m behind someone, stepping back so someone else can pass without brushing too closely and wearing a mask in public. The readings have shifted as well. They are reflecting things we can relate to our every-day, normal lives.
On Sunday 28 June, we saw a Jesus telling us “Whoever loves his Father or Mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me… Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.” Paul tells us “We who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.”
Those readings sound hard and confusing. How do I not love my own family? Does this mean I should forsake them and turn only to God? When I was baptized, was I then to avoid all things that seem to give live to me, food, drink, friends, And only accept suffering and death? Not in my reading of things.
The psalm refrain says “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”. We do have to die to ourselves and our own selfish natures. We do need to give up relying exclusively on the comforts of home, family, life itself so we can rely instead on Jesus’s love and support. By relying on Jesus, we can still love our families, but now our love will be strengthened by Christ’s love with us. Our now unselfish love will be more fulfilling, more rich than what we could give without Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell us not to love our Mother or Father or son or daughter. He told us to love him first. Then we could love others much more powerfully than we could otherwise.
If we are truly loving Jesus, then our love will not be one that seeks return. We will not be loving only those who might return that love to us. We will not be showing love solely for our own benefit. We will be more like the Centurion in Saturday’s (Gospel MT 8:8), who said those famous words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed”. My favorite line in the whole of the liturgy of the Mass is based on that quote.
We are to act and live as if we are unworthy. And, without Jesus, we are unworthy. Through loving Him, we are raised up to become worthy to enter Heaven, worthy to enter into the Life of Jesus himself. We are to show the faith of the leper, who approached Jesus and said “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean” (MT 8:2).
When we go to confession next time, we need to think… What ways do I seek to further my own glory? What ways do I only love those who will show me love? What ways do I not humble myself and accept the Graces of God first? Our daily lives are filled with moments where we will need to choose. Will we choose to follow God’s will? Or, will we choose to do what we want?