A Reflection on Mt. 10:37-42
By Bro. Ron Calderon
Blood is thicker than water, or so an old saying goes. Many believe that family ties are stronger than any bond among persons, either communal, filial, or romantic. There are people who really prioritize their family and value the family opinion over their girlfriend, boyfriend or newly wed wife or husband. But the Lord in our gospel is saying something different.
“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...”
Jesus is saying that in the priority of our relationships, God must be at the top. But why? Aren’t our family most deserving of our love and our time because they are the people who sacrificed so much for us.
If we reflect more deeply, God loves the whole world without reserve. He was there at the beginning, and will be there at the end. He is the one who sustains everything and makes sure that the whole creation stays with Him. He even made sure that humankind will be able to transcend human life by sending his Son. God is the great lover of all of us. In fact, God is Love. With this, do you think we can still say that our family must go first in the heirarchy of our loving?
We are indeed compelled to choose God over our other relationships.
But truly loving God entails several things as told by the gospel.
In my own words, the gospel is asking us to prioritize the Lord, and so we have to follow Jesus Christ. If we prioritize Christ, then we must be prepared to take up our cross. We must also be prepared to die to oneself in order to totally and fully welcome Jesus in our heart.
This priority of loving God through Christ is understood by Karl Rahner, a great theologian of the 21st century in a deeper sense:
“In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward [God], wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in [You], since by [Your] love you are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.”
With Rahner, loving and prioritizing God doesn’t have requirements. We simply have to open our heart to the love of God and everything else will follow.
This made me think that at times I am still not loving God in the fullest sense because I can still get stuck with my own ego, still cling to my sins and unfreedoms. But God is always there whenever we fall. He is at our side to help us open our hearts little by little.
According to St. John Eudes, founder of our little congregation:
“Remember, from time to time, that you are before God and in God himself; that our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his divinity, surrounds you on all sides, indeed penetrates and fills you, so much that he is more in you than you are yourself; that he never stops thinking of you and that his eyes and his heart are always turned towards you.”
Let us continue opening our heart to God through Jesus Christ, because God should be our priority in living and loving, and because the Spirit of God is with us every step of the way in helping us love deeper. Moreover, we do not have to worry about neglecting our other loves when we love God, because loving our Lord only strengthens all our other authentic loves.
Now, what do you think is thicker than blood? May you listen to the depths of your heart always.