This first meditation by Rev. Paul Schuller of Switzerland is about the love of God and his fellow human beings and the fact that all earthly means are not sufficient to avoid difficulties, they require trust in God’s help.
Reverend Paul Schuller, K-TV, Catholic TV
Le 14, 25-33 – The year of reading c
Following Christ is a personal decision that involves the whole person. Faith includes the whole person. Faith is important not only on Sundays, in church and parish, and perhaps also in the family, but also at work, in sports clubs, at the round table among ordinary guests and in politics during committee meetings.
It’s not so much about talking too much about your beliefs. We may be like the newly converted Christian Philemon, who can no longer claim the selfishness of his slave as masters who used to treat slaves. Every encounter with someone who is entrusted with us gives us the opportunity to practice selfless love. Divine love includes even our enemies! It assures us that we are God’s beloved children even when no one else doubts it. In his devotion on the cross, Jesus showed us that he loves all people and all of God’s creation!
Terms of succession
At the same time, Jesus is also true to his disciples! The road leads to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, through pain and death to resurrection and eternal life. If you want to go with him, you have to know the requirements: give up property, family, friends, honor, and maybe even your own life. Our Savior does not ask the same from everyone, but asks the impossible from anyone. He invites each of us to our own path and to the task assigned to him and her, which no one else can do. The greatest sacrifice required of the individual is the other side of the greater love to which we are called.
Christ died on the cross for the salvation of all. However, not everyone accepts the Savior’s love offer! Jesus does not ignore human free will. It also respects rejection and denial – even if it leads to ruin. Our fun-loving and fun-seeking world promises happiness, freedom, and fulfillment, but few believe in what pretends to fill people with cunning and deceit. Christ expects his disciples to behave more maturely.
Jesus prepares his disciples
Jesus’ difficult words are no exception. Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Christ prepares his disciples for the personal journey to present themselves for service by declaring his passion. But many will not be willing to walk this path with Christ and will forsake the disciple of the Lord.
He says, “If anyone comes to me and does not despise father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even despises his life, he cannot be my disciple.” Give in our lives and strive for unbreakable love with God’s help.
The inevitability of perfect love
By not excluding anyone from loving us in the name of God, not even our enemies, we fulfill the perfect commandment of love. The bond of love in marriage between a man and a woman must establish itself in thick and thin: what God has joined together, man must not separate. The family is important in God’s plan. Without the support of Joseph and Mary, Jesus would not have been able to fulfill his mission and would not have escaped either from the time of Herod’s persecution.
The danger of God’s marginalization
We all face countless problems and immediate difficulties in daily life. This could put us at risk of marginalizing God.
Family members, friends and relatives can accompany, protect and guide us for only a few years. Grieving and with a sad heart, even Jesus saw how he had to leave his mother Mary behind in a world filled with violence and hatred. Shortly before his death, he entrusted the Virgin to his favorite disciple John. His unwavering trust in the presence of the Heavenly Father allows him to live perfect love even on the path of pain.
Christ did not burden people with unnecessary crosses: when the sick asked him for help, he usually took care of them, healed and comforted them.
But there are troubles and burdens in our daily life that we cannot avoid: out of love for our loved ones and in order to realize the kingdom of God that has already begun in this world, we endure some difficulties with love and mercy. The Blessed Virgin Mary also encourages us to do so.
Mary followed Jesus on the cross
On the Feast of the Passion of Mary on September 15th, we reflect on how she endured all suffering and danger and accompanied Jesus on his way of suffering. What actually began with the birth of Jesus, persecuted by Herod and extended throughout the life of the Savior, finds its terrible climax under the cross. Mary followed Jesus to the point of the cross, and thus – out of her love for him – also took part in the Passion of the Redeemer.
Some tasks require the use of all human power and God’s help. Unbreakable and loyal love can also hurt. Within the limits of our life, we will realize that all earthly guarantees and means are not enough to avoid difficulties, they require trust in God’s help. Our plans and guarantees easily fall apart. Then Jesus opened the doors to get out of our loss and our fragility.
Even if following Christ requires all of our vital energy. In him we come to eternal life! It is often in the cross of Christ that we humans experience just how Jesus himself bore the burden for us and opened the way for us to a new, redeemed life. With this knowledge and with this faithful confidence, we can accept our neighbor as a fellow human being entrusted to us by God and appreciate him with full love, without heeding our own merits.
(Vatican Radio – Editor Claudia Kaminsky)