Following Jesus versus Having Him Fit into our Lives
(which is what most of us do) a homily by Fr. Jay Kythe
We live in a very busy, often crazy-making world. This is something we all see and feel. The pace of life has sped up. People are frenetic and running around. And technology is supposed to improve and organize our lives and keep us in touch with one another.
But despite all the benefits of technology, our lives are even more busy, more complicated.
But what would happen if everyone stopped running, even for a second? What would happen if we stopped all the noise and music around us, for a brief moment?
We would have to face two of the scariest things in the world: God and ourselves.
Maybe we would hear God calling out to me in my brokenness and emptiness: “I love you, and I want you to enter into my love. I want you to be a part of My life, not Me simply as a part of yours. And this will mean giving up some things in your life—”
“No, stop! I can’t do that! Turn the music back on! I have work to do! What’s on television right now? I've got to make this phone call. I’ve got to text my friends or see what’s happening on Facebook. I’ll pray later, and when I pray, I’ll read these prayers on my iphone and be done!”
Let’s say that you practice your faith and come to Mass regularly. Or at least do your best. You consider yourself a good person.
You pray daily. You are a Christian, and you do good to others.
Yes, life is busy, and we live in a crazy making world, but you do take your prayer time and you go about your business.
But even that’s not enough for God.
I think we make a fundamental mistake in our Christian lives. I see others doing it all the time, and I do it too: I fit God into my life.
I have my daily routine and I insert God in here.
And yes, He blesses me and walks with me and loves me throughout my busy days, but is this what God really wants?
In the Gospel, the two disciples see Jesus, who was pointed out to them by Saint John the Baptist. They went up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, come and see where I am staying.”
And Jesus followed them and walked with them throughout their lives.
No. That’s not what happened.
But that’s how we usually treat Jesus in our spiritual lives. We must do what the disciples actually did. They followed Him and walked with Him.
In our first reading, God calls Samuel, who thinks that Eli was the one calling him. But then he learns that God almighty is calling him, and he says, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
When we say this to God, are we really listening?
We have two ears and one mouth, but we usually act like we have two mouths and one ear. How much of our prayer is us talking, having a one-sided conversation to God?
One can say that listening is hard; I can’t hear God. He doesn’t talk like others do when they speak to me. But silence teaches the heart to listen. How much of our prayer or our day is spent in silence, teaching the heart to be ready to listen to God when He speaks to us?
What does God say to you in the silence of your hearts? Listening with the heart is a process of discernment, which means figuring out what Jesus wants me to do. This is why people leave their lives behind and become priests, deacons, and monks, and nuns.
This is why people change their lives and get married and raise a family. People who refuse to change their lives when they get married and raise a family are people who will see their families soon dismantled.
It’s not so much making room for the other, but that we enter into the space the other has made for us.
And the “o” in the word “other” can be capitalized.
It is not so much that we make room for God in our lives, but we enter into the space He makes for us.
“Rabbi, where are you staying?” “Come and you will see.”
They leave their lives behind and stay with Him unto His death and beyond. But do they? Did they stay with Him during His death?
All of them except for St. John, the Beloved Disciple, left Him.
What happens when we are trying to stay with Jesus and there is an earthquake in our lives (I call it a “Jay-quake”)?
We experience a crushing disappointment or the devastating loss of a loved one. Often we fall into the usual trap and we will pull Jesus into our misery—who is always happy to come into our lives—but what we should do is enter into His.
Our sorrows make no sense when Jesus is an add-on in our lives. But our sorrows make a lot more sense when we bring them to Him and enter into His sorrow. This is the testing point of true fidelity. This is about entering into His world and the plan He has for us, even if it includes a chapter of sorrow.
Do we enter into His life or try to make Him fit into ours?
Silence prepares the heart to listen, so that we can enter into His world and His life, and allow Him to show you what He wants for you, even if it involves suffering. The result will be entering into a Love and a peace that is beyond all understanding.