Jesus turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
A reflection from Father Tudgay
“What does God want me to do?” This is a fundamental question of the Christian life. What is God’s will or plan for me? What is the gift that my life is supposed to be?
In one sense, we may be ted to ask this question out of fear: If I don’t do what God wants me to do, he’ll be mad at me. As adult Catholics, it is important for us not to superimpose a false notion of spiritual infantilization on our experience of the Catholic faith. We are mature adults and our experience of the Catholic Faith is meant to demonstrate that.
Enter the role of discernment! Discernment, from the Latin ‘discernere’, or to separate, flesh out, or to sift through, is an essential aspect of the Christian life that allows us to answer that nagging question about what God wants us to do. Our First Reading from Wisdom recounts the way that the human quest for fulfillment can run aground without, principally, the incorporation of God’s presence among us. Enter the role of Faith, which is our open and eager response to what God reveals. Searching for God is, in its essence, the search for wisdom and our apprehension of it unlocks the mystery of our own existence.
In the Christian life, ‘separating’ the voice of the world around us and aspects of our culture from the voice of God in our midst provides the backdrop for the action of the Catholic Christian to make certain choices. When we realize that our very existence is a gift and that we are each created and blessed uniquely by God, the answer to the question “what does God want me to do?” becomes less driven by fear and completely about a response in truth and love. This is the essence of the Christian life.
Jesus uses some pretty strong language and dramatic examples in our Gospel Passage this weekend to illustrate the role of discernment in discipleship. Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ – essential before all others – unlocks the mystery of our existence so as to be a gift to others. What does God want me to do? Listen to the voice of truth in our lives and the call to serve. And because this call is Wisdom, himself, listening and following the voice of Christ brings us joy and the exhilaration of truly living our best lives.
O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance.