23 May 2015
I suppose St. Paul could’ve been easily distracted; I mean, being imprisoned, having people all around him trying to accuse him or even have him put to death. There’s a lot that could’ve distracted Paul from his mission. But, amazingly, he stayed right on course. He didn’t waver from the task, the mission, the life Christ had called him to.
St. Paul sets a pretty high standard of faithful discipleship. But I imagine most of us are more like Peter. We just heard yesterday how Peter declared his love for Jesus and how he heard the Lord’s call to “follow me.” But today, right off the bat, Peter is distracted by another disciple. He’s wondering more about the disciple-whom-Jesus-loved rather than Jesus.
We strive to be like St. Paul is following the Lord, but we’re more often like St. Peter—at least, St. Peter in his early years as an Apostle. We get distracted. Life around us pulls us away from the Lord. You know, things like: paying the bills, getting the work done around the house, going from one meeting to the next. Even good things like raising a family and doing charitable work can distract us from the Lord.
And it’s not that we should put up blinders to all those things. We certainly shouldn’t put up blinders to the needs of our neighbors and the troubles of the world. That would go against the commandment to love our neighbors. Instead, Jesus is saying: Put me first. Follow me, and be anchored in me.
And that’s very wise, of course. If we remain close to Christ, then we begin to see life around us through the eyes of Christ. When we see tragedies and injustice in the world, we can remember to actually pray for our enemies. When the kids are getting on your nerves, you can remember to be patient as Christ is patient with us.
When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he means to say, “See the world as I see it. Love others as I love them. Weep for wrongdoing as I do, and be happy with those who are happy.” In other words, live life, but not without Christ, who helps us to interpret and make sense of life.
There are lots of things in life to distract us from the Lord. The challenge is to go through life with Christ always at our side. Then we can live life and understand it, not with our human wisdom, but with the wisdom of God.