Not for ME…

September 4, 2022 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090422.cfm)

Recently a Facebook post catches my attention. It is about a young man named Seth Adam Smith who realized, after being married for a year and a half, and said that: “Marriage is not for me”. Why? After all these months of marriage with his teenage sweetheart, he comes to understand now what his father’s advice to him before his wedding day, is becoming true and right before his very eyes. His dad once said to him then: “Seth, Marriage is not for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy. You marry to make someone else happy. More than that, marriage is not for yourself. You’re marrying for a family and for your future children. Marriage is not for you. It is not about you. Marriage is about the persons you marry to.”

Surely married couples here could relate to this realization or advice. For marriage is indeed not really for the sake of oneself but for the sake of your lifetime partner. Eventually married couples have to learn along the way that marriage is not all about me or about I but about us. And surely such realization is a hard-lesson to learn where learning happens only through trial and error experience.

To be selfless, i.e. to be not selfish and self-centered then is the very challenge of committed love we called marriage. For love is more than just a feeling or emotion but a commitment and decision to go beyond and give up oneself for the sake of the other. In other words, in marriage – in committed love, couples are to love their own spouse as much and as more than they love themselves and they love one another.

This is the very kind of love Jesus asked of us in His commandment of love when he said: “Love one another as I have loved you”. A love much and more than our kind of love, but a selfless love for the sake of the other, and a love that leads us to a life and a world that is not the same as it is, but for the better of you.  A married life committed in love not for your own but for the sake of your loved ones and of loving them, and above all for our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is indeed easy nowadays for people to say: “Not for me”. Priesthood? Not for me. Religious life? Not for me. Marriage? Not for me. And even perhaps, Christianity? Not for me. But come to think of it, Priesthood, religious life, marriage – following Jesus is indeed not for Me nor for You, but for Him; not about Me or You, but about Him whom we love & follow in life as Christian. And faithful who opted for Christ is saying that their discipleship is SELFLESS – not for them but for Him whom they choose to follow in life.

For what it is to be a Christian? What does it cost to be a disciple of Christ? To be a Christian, as Jesus taught us today is like marriage, more than just a preference but a commitment. To follow Christ is not just we prefer Christ in our dealings with life – that we want and like Christ to be part of our lives, but it is to commit ourselves to the Christian way of life. To commit to Christ then is to be selfless, i.e. let go of ourselves and let God be God in our lives.

On one hand, to commit is to LET GO, that is to renounce – to give up everything. And this is not easy for usually we prefer to have, possess, acquire, and own everything. But Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God is more than what we prefer and desire (want and like) in life, but it is what God’s wants and wills what is best for our life. Like Seth who realized that “Christian Marriage is not for me…not for my sake but for the best and sake of my partner, and my own family”, being His disciples is not about being self-oriented, self-centered & inward-looking, but rather being other-oriented, other-centered & outward-looking. And the Kingdom of God is then not about You and I, not even about yours & mine. But God’s kingdom is all about We and Ours, and above all about HIM, as our Lord and we, as His disciples.

On the other hand, to commit to Christ is also to LET GOD BE GOD, that is to submit to God’s will. Human as we are we like to be in control, to lead and to be the master. In a way we prefer to take the driver’s seat and take the steering wheels, and go where we want to go. But following Christ means to commit and submit to God’s will for us, and let God control, lead, guide, and form the direction of our lives. This means that we become passengers, and let Jesus takes the wheels and brings us to place and time in our life beyond our imaginings.  

Again, be reminded what Jesus is saying to us in our gospel today: to BE HIS disciple is to hate our life, carry our crosses & follow Him, and renounce all our possessions… all for the sake of and because of HIM. Jesus himself, by his words and examples, has shown us how to be selfless by letting go and letting God be God.

In the same way, for us to fully fulfil God’s kingdom in our lives, as Christians, pray we must that we selflessly commit our lives to Christ (as Christian husband, wife, mother, father, priest, religious nuns or brothers, sons and daughters, family) by letting Go and letting God be God with total commitment for Him (and, not for the sake of me, you, & ours alone) in faith & life. AMEN.

2 thoughts on “Not for ME…

  1. To commit to Christ then is to be selfless, i.e. let go of ourselves and let God be God in our lives.

    Thank you Padre Mar.🙏

    Like

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