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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2019
(Part 14)

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.

Peter 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.

What 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 14:26).

As important as family is, being a disciple of Jesus means he and his work is the greatest priority. And what is that work?

Jesus “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.

For 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.

But 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.

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