Commentary on the Gospel of
The message of Jesus is so very simple, but often I don’t want to hear it. Help the poor, love my enemies and don’t be so obsessed with wealth and power. All wonderful ideas and ones I cheer with my whole heart. Well, most of it.
Today’s readings challenge us not to be so confident and self-assured. Not to be arrogant.
In the first reading, James cautions us not to count on our own plans to get us through life because “you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.”
Maybe that lack of control in life is what makes me less willing to turn my life so completely over to God. In the morning, I can pray to surrender my whole life to Jesus. Then I spend the rest of the day wresting it back from him a little at a time. “Let me have just this one part back,” I will bargain. “Oh, and that one, too.”
I don’t like not being in control and all Jesus is asking is that I trust in him more. I don’t have to know what is over the next hill or the next week. But if I trust in Jesus’ presence in my life and in his loving care for me, whatever does come in life will be easier for me, whether I am in “control” or not.
One of the ways we are called to trust in Jesus is by remembering that in everything in our lives, including marriage, our parenting, work and community, the Holy Spirit is there first - ahead of us. Jesus' simple words, "whoever is not against us is for us" points to our daily lives, because too often we demonize anyone we don’t know or understand. Anyone we think might “get in our way.” Jesus calls us to a more careful discernment in the midst of this trust. Like the disciples, we don’t want to trust what we don’t know – and so we judge others and assure ourselves that we are in the better camp – Jesus’ camp. But the spirit of Jesus is already in those places, even when we can’t recognize it. His spirit is more active and in more places than I know.
Loving Jesus, help me to ungrasp my hands that hang onto my life so tightly. I want to open my arms to you and your love for me, and to feel deeply how much you love me today. Let me feel deep in my soul, your loving care for me. Help me to trust.