Caring Like the Master

Parenting has been rated as one of the most demanding jobs ever. The fact that children ask many questions, are full of anxiety, fears, and in need of guidance at all times, makes parenting a 24-hour-a-day job. Seven days a week. 365 days a year. However, for most parents, it is the most beautiful job on earth. It gives one the opportunity to care. In having someone to love and in being there for their children, without expecting anything in return, parents exhibit the joy of a fulfilled life. This desire to love rather than being loved is, according to Thomas Aquinas, proper to charity.

Charitable Attitude

Today’s Gospel conveys the charitable attitude of Jesus, who goes the extra mile for our own interest. A scribe has heard about Jesus, his life, his miracles, and finds this very attractive. He wants the peace and joy that Jesus offers. The scribe wants to be part of the bigger picture and comes to Jesus saying: “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus does not speak either positively or negatively to the scribe. He simply tells him what His own life is like in order to help him make a decision. Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus implies to be saying here: Foxes have holes in the ground they call home. Birds of the air build a nest that they call home. But I will be going from place to place. If you are going to follow me, I cannot promise you anything but an itinerant life.

The question is, why must Jesus be moving from place to place? Why can’t he relax, take care of himself, and think about his well-being? I think the nature of his mission calls for it. Like every parent, he is driven by unconditional love. Though he will not be able to reach all people and nations with his message of salvation but given the fact that this message is meant for all, he decides to do all within his strength.

This sacrificial attitude of Jesus for our salvation is one that demands our response. The Prophet Amos calls on the people of Israel in our first reading not to forget how God led them out of Egypt, and through the wilderness for forty years to possess the promise land. (Amos 6:10). Amos is of the opinion that this anamnesis of the love of God should be perceivable in their relationships.

Imitate and Practice

In order not to forget what Jesus has done for us, we need to imitate and practice his unconditional love for all. We can begin with a particular day. Allowing only unconditional loving thoughts to emanate from our consciousness. Refusing to have judgmental or critical thoughts. Thinking only thoughts of peace and love in our quiet moments. Thinking and acting in only loving ways in all our relationships. In doing this, we will not be loving hostile acts, rather loving spirits that are entrapped in those who appear unloving. In so doing, we key into the unconditional love that God has for all of creation. By pouring love in your environment and circumstances, your circle of friends and family may begin to respond in the same way. And that may be a wonderful way of advancing in our following the Master.

[Readings: Am 2:6-10, 13-16; Mt 8:18-22]

Fr. John Opara

Fr. John Opara is an associate pastor at St. Johannes Lette Coesfeld, Germany. He has a doctorate degree in Sacred Liturgy and is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria. Email: johnugofr@yahoo.com.

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