THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2019
HAVING THE RIGHT PRIORITY
January 7, 2019
Today’s gospel: Matthew 4:12-25
Today we read about the call of Jesus to his first disciples,
which were two sets of brothers. One striking aspect of the
response of those called is that of James and John. “They
were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their
father and followed him.” (v.21b-22). They left their
father and their family livelihood! Immediately! But is not
family the first priority? From Jesus’ acceptance of
the action of James and John, the answer is no.
himself was married. But he and his brother Andrew had the
same response. “At once they left their nets and followed
him.” (v.20). Well, take Jesus himself. When he was
preaching, Mary and his cousins arrived, seeking to speak
to him. Rather than immediately taking leave to speak to them,
he said that his family were those seated around him, those
who do the will of God (see Mark 3:31-35). They and not his
blood relatives were his first priority.
is Jesus manifesting in all these? The priority is the work
of the Kingdom, before those two most important aspects of
our life, that of family and livelihood. In talking about
the conditions of discipleship, Jesus says that those who
love family more than him are not worthy of him (see Matthew
10:37). In fact, he says that one who comes to him without
hating his family members cannot be his disciple (see Luke
important as family is, being a disciple of Jesus means he
and his work is the greatest priority. And what is that work?
“went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease
and illness among the people.” (v.23). The work of the
Kingdom of God is formation, evangelization and work with
the poor. As Jesus went around all of Galilee, this work is
intended to be massive in order to reach all.
most, the important aspects of life are family and livelihood.
Rightly so. We are to care for our families, and that includes
providing for them through our livelihood. Unfortunately,
these two often become the obstacles to serving God to the
fullest. We hardly have time for the Lord because we are deeply
involved in these. But we must know that unless we become
authentic disciples, we cannot fully care for our families
in the way God intends. And unless we make service to God
a priority, our families will always be under threat from
a darkened world.
it does not have to be “either-or.” God’s
intent is “both-and.” We are to be disciples serving
God, even as we properly care for our families. This happens
as we become families on mission. We look to the lead of that
holy warrior, Joshua, as we aver: As for me and my household,
we will serve the Lord.
* * *