Growing Closer To The Master
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
At first glance, we may find these words of Jesus baffling. Does he really mean that those who act on God’s word are closer to him than his own blood relations? Pondering this raises the question: what is the word of God and what does it mean to act on it? Jesus was sent by the Father to redeem humanity from sin and to teach the way of salvation. Jesus redeemed us once and for all, but each of us is free to accept salvation and order our lives according to it. We have a choice. Jesus saved us, but we have to want that salvation and to live as people who are redeemed. We can do that by following Jesus’ teachings. His teachings are not rules imposed upon us to make life difficult, but are invitations to find happiness. The human person’s most basic desire is for happiness, and Jesus’ commandments lead us on the way to find it.
An example of this can be found in the movie The Blind Side. It depicts the selfless sacrifice of the Tuohy family. This well-to-do white family welcome into their home Michael Oher, a homeless African American youth. In the process the family finds a joy that only following Jesus’ teaching to “love one’s neighbor” can give. We are made for the good and noble life. When we cheat, steal, insult, lie, and hate, we hurt ourselves as well as others, and we drift farther away from our deepest desire—happiness. But when we act on the word of God, we make the words of Jesus a reality in our day-to-day lives. We try to be gentle, patient, generous, forgiving, merciful, and trusting. When we act in this way, we grow close to the Master who longs for our love. Let us ask our Lord to give us the grace to examine in our hearts how we put the word into practice in our lives. Only then will we become authentic members of Jesus’ family of disciples.
Jesus, Word of Life, make your word take root in my heart today so that I may reflect your joy to the world. Your mother listened most closely to your word and lived it out. May her life give encouragement to all your disciples, and an example of finding happiness in you.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Ps 119:105).
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 140–141). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.