Out Of Order

I went to use the copy machine at work the other day, and someone had posted a large sign saying that the machine was out of order and that service had been called. Most of us have had the experience of expecting some convenience of our modern age to work when we need it, only to find that it is out of order.

When we are not feeling well, we might describe our physical body as being out of order. Something is not working right; perhaps there is a disease or a virus that is making our body sick. When this happens, we typically seek a medicine that will help get our body back to normal again, or we seek out a medical professional to help diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate medication or treatment.

In all of creation, there is a beautiful order to things. Each of us has our place in the created world, and the world works the way God intended when all things adhere to their natural order. We can see, in our modern society, how things can go terribly wrong when we lose a sense of that order that God intended.

In today’s gospel, Jesus gives a hard teaching to his disciples when he says:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. . .”

Jesus is teaching his disciples about the right order of things. We can look to the Ten Commandments and see that the first two commandments address our relationship with the Lord. If our lives are to be in right order the way God intended, then God must have first place in our lives. This is sometimes a painful truth for us when we find that our lives are full of so many things, that we struggle to give God an hour each week at Mass on Sunday.

The simple reality is that we need to put God in first place in our lives. The Church teaches that we have to develop our relationship with the Lord according to our state in life.   God does not expect a married mother of three to live the same kind of spiritual life as a cloistered religious or even a diocesan priest. But God does expect us to give him pride of place in our lives, regardless of how busy we are. Married couples are sometimes surprised to learn that after God, it is their spouse who should be the focus of their attention. Parents today spend countless hours running children to this practice or to that event, finding that, at the end of the day, they have had no time for each other. It is important to remember that our children grow from a loving, committed marriage relationship. We are called to nurture that relationship, so that it will continue to grow and be fruitful.

I was talking recently to a retired friend of mine, who stated that he feels as busy in retirement as he was when he worked 60 hours per week at his job! This weekend, Jesus teaches us that God needs to assume first place in our lives, if our lives are to be correctly ordered. Placing God first helps us to focus on Him as the source of everything we receive. It is good to examine our lives, from time to time, and check ourselves. If golf, football or trips to the mall have taken first place over God, then our lives are not in right order, and we may find ourselves feeling lost and unhappy.

God has a plan for each of our lives. The more we turn our lives over to him, the clearer his plan for our life becomes. God reveals himself more and more to us as we open our hearts and make more room for him to work in our lives. Our God is ever patient with his children! If your life seems to be “out of order,” don’t panic. God can help! We can begin each day with a little prayer recognizing God as the source of everything in our lives. As we come to him in all humility, he gently leads us and draws us closer to himself.

Jesus is calling his disciples and us to make our relationship with him the most important one in our lives. He will give us the grace we need to make the changes necessary in order to place him in the most important position in our hearts. Our lives flow from the love that God has bestowed on us. Let us place God first in our lives, so that everything we do in this life flows from God.

In the heart of Christ, the servant,

Deacon Tim

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