FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
MATTHEW 10: 37-42
JULY 1, 2017
Why is Jesus saying that you have to love him more than you love your parents or your children? Is he having ego issues? Insecure? No. He is trying to get us to break out of our dualistic, tribal way of seeing the world. He aligns himself with the “little ones.” These are all the outcasts, lower level in any class system, the poor, the forgotten, abandoned, hungry and thirsty. The tribal mentality has an “us and them” attitude. We identify with our tribal family, our class, people who are like us in status of language, color, ethnicity and money. Jesus wants us to become “we” people, in connecting with what used to be the “other.”
This is a hard thing to do, which is why he says it will be like picking up your cross. Your tribal group may reject you for reaching beyond acceptable boundaries. They rejected Jesus for doing just that. Now he says it is enough of a start to give someone who thirsts even a glass of water. Will you cure world thirst? Will you quench the thirst of this person to whom you give a cup of water? Will they befriend you? You are not in charge of the results. You do this small action to change yourself. Don’t worry about the other person being changed. Transformation is not about changing others. If you move beyond the boundaries in which you grew up, beyond parent and child as your complete focus, you will develop a larger sense of who are your brother and sister, father and mother.
Jesus was found in the Temple when he was twelve years old. He was supposed to be in a caravan with his parents. Instead, he stayed behind and connected with the Temple teachers, who wondered what this seemingly strange boy was doing in their midst. To Jesus, everyone was family. He had a great curiosity. The world is all of a oneness. Or so he envisioned it. Apparently, not everyone agreed. But if you want to find your deeper life, then you will need to let go of the narrow life others envisioned for you as your grew up.