Job 9:1-12, 14-16
One day I took part in a discussion with a group of high school seniors. The leader of the discussion asked the question, "How do you guys evaluate your class spirit this year?" One of the participants spoke up. "I think there is too much apathy in our class." The young man sitting next to me mumbled, "So what?"
What drives away the "So what?" attitude and generates an attitude of joy is commitment. Those who feel committed to a cause, a purpose, or a person are excited to get out of bed in the morning. They are energized for hard work. They are stimulated to learn and grow. They are prepared to deal with obstacles. They inspire others to join in. People lacking in commitment wallow in cynicism, don’t see much meaning in their lives, are unfocused in their thinking and disorganized in their activities. As a result they flounder about, don’t accomplish much, and get depressed.
It has been wisely noted that little people have wishes, while great people have a purpose. Great people pursue that purpose with their chin firmly facing the wind, their eyes never looking back. Committed people are stickers and fighters, not escape artists. They keep focused at all times. Those who signed the Declaration of Independence said "We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." Patrick Henry proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death." These people were totally and unconditionally committed to the cause of freedom, and they got the job done…
In today’s gospel Jesus is asking for that same dedication. He declares that even the most sacred obligation of burying our parents comes after allegiance to him. He knew that his followers would one day see him hanging on a cross. They must be prepared for the worst of days. But with committed hearts, they will endure. With trust in him, they will hang on. And with faith in his love for them, they will be able to go forth and shepherd his people.
Jules Ellinger said, "There has never been a statue erected to the memory of someone who let well enough alone." The problems our world faces today challenge us to recommit ourselves to the Lord Jesus and to proclaim his message with unwavering hearts.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.