Dear Followers of Jesus Christ,
Jesus is far from the center of most people’s lives. So many of us tend to believe that if we keep the ritual action of Mass once a week, we will be fine. Others believe that if we can memorize the Catechism, Jesus will open the eternal gates to us. Still others hope that if we can protect the Church from sinful people such as immigrants, homosexuals or women who have made a decision for abortion, things will go well and our self-righteousness will take us first class to heaven.
Jesus challenges all these approaches. He wants our hearts and every aspect of our lives to become a fountain of love. Jesus wants us, just as we are in the real world, in every action and thought.
Our gospel today, Matthew 10:37-42, challenges our relationships with Jesus. He says to us that our human relationships are nothing compared to our intimate friendship with God. He heals, forgives, loves and provides hope. This is a great promise for us in our daily lives. Jesus invites us to take up our human suffering in his cross.
Many people are not interested in learning more about Jesus, about coming to terms with our human hearts and our priorities. Somehow, we need to break through our reluctance to find Jesus. Many people are bored with the Church and deaf to it’s teaching and weekly preaching. Jesus aches to be in touch with our human suffering, our heartaches and our hopes for a better life. He wants to rip open our short attention spans and capture our imaginations.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” This is radical and provocative. What does he mean? No wonder why most people do not care about Jesus! He wants us to lose ourselves into a deep, intimate relationship with him. Love really changes us; it really does. It is a lot easier to cling to our possessions, our past hurts and our own path, the one that we think is really, “it.”
Instead, let’s fall into Jesus’ care and protection by offering a cup of cold water to someone in need. Let’s fall head over heals into a new relationship with God and offer what little we have: our self-reliance, our security systems, our power and greed, our malfunctioning hearts and puffed-up egos. Let’s allow Jesus to enter our pride and transform us into generous, self-giving people we call the Church.
Heck, all this in exchange for a cold cup of water! Not a bad trade off. Go for it. See what happens. Love releases love releases love releases love. Love pours out hope.
How can you enter more deeply into meditation, prayer and gratitude during these summer months? How can you rely even deeper on God’s sustaining love for you? How does offering a cold cup of water change you?