Monday, July 22, 2013

Our Time is Essential

BEADS OF JOY 07-22-13
“Our Time is Essential”
©2013 James Dacey, Jr. OFS

My Friends,

This is a “hard reflection” some will probably disagree and many won’t ever consider this. But I begin by saying: Consider pondering these thoughts for just a moment. What is your passion rooted in? What does it take to spark your interest? Do you prefer physical activities like sports, gardening, building things; or do you prefer to focus on intellectual activities with say -writing, reading, research? Maybe your interests are in music, or you are drawn to a specific hobby (making clothes, arts and crafts, drawing)? Whatever sparks your enthusiasm -know that as long as Jesus isn’t part of the equation; these things take you away from being best prepared for what really matters in this life, and what is that? Eternity! See we must prepare for and be ready for and be prepared for that first day at the very beginning of our eternity. Our first day there –will be our last day here. This is why our time is essential and quite honestly best not wasted. When will that be? See that’s the problem, we don’t actually know, and so our preparing is for the unknown; staying on “the ready” at all times. Let us look at scripture, which is indeed the best way to see if God Himself is asking for us to deny our own selfishness that isn’t Him, so that we only follow after Him:

Luke 9:22-26 (NIV)
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Here is another scripture of conversation, a rather surprising conversation. But here we can see the importance of our focus on Jesus; nothing and no one can come between us and our Lord. Jesus Himself tells us this:

Luke 9:58-62 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

This next scripture does not mean that Jesus wants us to “hate”. We all know Jesus only speaks of love and harmony. The content of this scripture is directly after Jesus was at the house of the Pharisee, followed by the Great Banquet. There is no doubt that Jesus had His challenges with people attacking His Word. My understanding here is; if your family members reject you because you are following after Jesus, we must carry the cross of that pain and still follow after Jesus. See our faith isn’t a “group thing”. Yes it’s wonderful to be able to be in fellowship with others on this journey; and it’s even more wonderful when our family is with us. With that said we must know that if all turn against us, we must still on our own, follow after Him.

Luke 14:25-27 (NIV)
The Cost of Being a Disciple
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

I hope this has been helpful. We can’t down play our faith, we shouldn’t down play its cost. Jesus was crucified to save you and me -that cost Him everything. Why shouldn’t we have to pay a similar price if we are rejected? And so I will end with this scripture..

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
The Narrow and Wide Gates
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Your brother in Christ Jesus
And His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS

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