|Click to see where I got this cute dog picture.|
Regarding these readings, one word stands out: focus.
In the first reading, we have Elijah seeking out the man
God had chosen as his successor, Elisha. Elisha is focused:
by slaughtering his oxen and giving away the food,
he shut the door on ever going back
on his resolve to be the Lord’s prophet.
In the Gospel, Jesus is totally focused on Jerusalem.
He knows what will happen there:
he will give his life as a ransom for many.
James and John’s focus is somewhere else.
They remind me of a saying a friend of mine has:
“Keep your eye on the main chance;
don’t stop to kick every barking dog.”
James and John are stopping to kick the Samaritans;
Jesus is keeping his eye on the prize,
which is the Cross, and the salvation of the world.
Paul’s advice in the second reading could be restated as following:
the reason you don’t want to give into temptations
is because they will keep you from gaining eternal life.
Keep moving! Keep focused!
Keep your eye on the main chance, which is heaven!
Our mission is to get to heaven,
and bring as many others with us as we can.
To the extent that we can,
we bring the law of the Kingdom into this world –
because Jesus isn’t just king of heaven,
he is the rightful king of this world as well.
Last Friday, it was wonderful
to have so many men and boys of all ages come out
for our annual Men’s Prayer Walk.
It was a good time of friendship; and the cookout was great,
with good food and games.
But what was the focus?
Prayer; and lifting up Jesus Christ before our community,
and praying for him to bless the people of our parish.
I walked right behind the older boys
who were taking turns lifting up the Cross. That was the focus.
And it seemed like all those taking part understood that.
This coming Friday, we have a group of folks
who are going to be keeping vigil in the church,
after the First Friday Mass,
which they do every First Friday.
We have an all-night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament.
They will be praying for conversion, seeking to consecrate themselves,
and our world, more deeply to the Two Hearts:
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
You are welcome to come and join in.
So what really is your focus?
Now is a good time to re-focus: Jesus and his Kingdom.
Bringing our families and our community to know him.
That’s all that really matters, here and hereafter.