Romans 13: 8-10
Today’s readings put a mark in the sand around what it means to be, a disciple of Jesus. As per usual, nothing has changed – it is not going to be easy. The flight/fight of being human and what that means when it comes to trying to live, a life of love.
The easy part is the citing of the commandments and the hard part, is living them…and when all is said and done, Paul says it all in Romans. Live these commands but know that on every level love takes precedence. Don’t get caught up in the do’s and don’t’s of practice rather be caught up in living a life of love for others.
In the gospel, there is no reprieve of what is expected. An unusual use of language – ‘hate’, your family etc…but this is telling us that as important as these people are; it is the singlemindedness of following Jesus that is at the core. To take up one’s cross and understand the pain and suffering we all live with, feel and see is the road, to leaving distractions. Therefore, the third aspect of following Jesus is to give up all your possessions. To get rid of the roadblocks in our minds and hearts to open ourselves to the message of love and go where it takes you.
Here is the message of the Cross – no wonder it is seen as a stumbling block and appears foolish. However, when we are dispossessed we see more clearly, we live in a way that love comes to the fore and we live in a way that brings others to Jesus. Compassion becomes our ‘law’ and we bring hope and mercy through suffering and acceptance in heeding the call to follow Jesus. As, Paul of the Cross said, “may the passion of Jesus be always on our minds and in our hearts”.
Paul Traynor is married to Clare and has two children Sam and Lucy. He lives in Greytown which is in the Wairarapa Region on the North Island of New Zealand. Paul is currently working as the National Passionist Family Groups Coordinator for Aotearoa, New Zealand.