At age twelve, when Jesus’ parents found him in the temple, he told them “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) Right from the very start, Jesus was committed. He was focused. Doing his Father’s will was what Jesus was all about. Nothing could deter him, not even death.
So, in today’s gospel, when Jesus goes out looking for followers, he is looking for that same strong dedication. He knows the power of commitment.
Whether it is to a person or to a cause, once we decide to commit, amazing things happen. Our whole being gets involved. The doors of our imagination and creativity open up. Our inner resources are taped. We discover a quality of energy unknown to the wishy-washy. Commitment rallies our courage, stiffens our backbone, and toughens us for all challenges. Commitment opens our senses and our intuition, and hastens our learning.
Commitment clarifies who we are. We forge our identity by naming our values. Our commitment then excites others and brings them aboard. Together we become a band of stickers and fighters. Our attention is centered.
It has been wisely noted that little people have wishes, while great people have a purpose. What greater purpose can there be than serving God and God’s people? Jesus asks us to pursue that purpose with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our bodies, with our chins facing the wind, our eyes never looking back.
Part of the inner peace Jesus promises us does not depend upon success, but comes from having a meaningful purpose and knowing we gave it our best. That’s what he did. “Come,” he says, “choose to follow me and share in my joy.”
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/