As I read the readings for this Sunday, I was first struck by their lack of connection to what is happening in my life. And then the Holy Spirit spread out over me and spoke.
In the first reading from second Kings, a woman with holy boldness invites a prophet to a meal. The conversations had to be amazing since Elisha stopped by there for meals frequently. I imagine she learned a great deal about herself and God at these meals, because she discerned he was holy. With that knowledge she encouraged her husband to create a living space for the prophet in their home. Imagine how her fervor impacted her husband who created the space she requested. Imagine what she continued to learn from Elisha each time he came to the house to eat and rest. Imagine how she grew in faith. Faith that became event when she did not ask Elisha for anything.
Then I moved on to Psalms and rejoiced with the psalmist. Romans called me to remember that no matter the hardships, no matter the social-distancing, no matter the political strength displayed, aligning myself with Jesus means I too live, eternally.
And then Matthew helped me see eternity now. Now, today, each breath I take, asks that I love Jesus more than anyone—more than any thing. This rested in my spirit uncomfortably. Certainly this passage is not new to me, but the message I received struck me anew as I considered Life According to Jesus. Jesus asks that I move away from, “It’s mine, mine, mine. It’s my:
towards sharing. And don’t just with those who share with me, share with those who don’t give me a thing. Now that just isn’t fair. Or is it?
It doesn’t seem fair, but since Jesus is saying it, it must be. So let’s take a closer look at what Life According to Jesus is all about.
We are born into this world because God loves us—calling us into creation, to do one thing: LOVE. Love God, love ourselves, and love others. Now God knew that it would be difficult for humans to get the love thing right, because some of us weren’t paying attention in our early development and others were trying to skip parts to get ahead. Now it usually happens that the one not paying attention joins with the one skipping and before you know it we’re in a mess. Such was the case with the first humans in the everything-you-could-ask-for garden. And ever since then, we have been trying to get things together. So, knowing that we would struggle with LOVE, God decided to show us how it is done. Love She shows, gives voluntarily without expecting compensation and forgives by ceasing to feel resentment against, thereby freeing from guilt or blame or consequences. This is the love that accompanies us wherever. This is the love that knows 2nd chance needs 3rd chance and 4thchance just to get to 5th chance and so on. This is the love that becomes flesh, taking us back to show and tell, so that we might understand more fully. This is the love that asks us to do one thing: LOVE. Love Jesus more than father and mother, and son and daughter. Love that gives. I’m sure that many of us find this really hard to do. I know I certainly struggle with this. What’s weird about the struggle is that it doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else—it has to do with self—me, myself and I. For too long we have been our own enemy. Think about how often you have heard someone say, “I’m my own worst enemy.” or “I’m harder on myself than anyone else.” This way of thinking is in direct conflict with Life According to Jesus. See, to truly love God is to love self. The love for self, manifests in how we treat others.
My love for God causes me, calls me, to see my goodness and worthiness. Why? Because that is all God is showing me. God doesn’t show me my faults and unworthiness. God is all about my well-being, and concentrating on my errors stunts my growth. Since I now feel good about myself I can’t help but share that with others—evangelization. Most likely I start with my family, friends, acquaintances, but before long I realize that the LOVE I’m being shown is so grand, that people I don’t even know need to get in on it.
Enemies and haters are obstacles set up to entice me to forget the promises of God. But I must remember “If God is for us who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)? We must never forget that the love God gives us, is God Herself. And when I give the love that God has given to me, that’s when I have life and more abundantly (paraphrase of John 10:10).
So let us move away from “It’s mine.” towards giving, Since It’s All God’s Anyway.
timone davis is a cradle Catholic who was a “pewster” until she discovered that the uselessness of the Church was because she wasn’t giving anything of herself. After committing to do something, her life changed. Her first ministry was with the RCIA, where she not only welcomed others into the Church, but also revitalized her own spirituality.
After working for the Archdiocese of Chicago as the coordinator of ReCiL – Reclaiming Christ in Life Young Adult Ministry, timone launched PEACE centered WHOLENESS with her husband Orlando, where they are blending clinical counseling and spiritual companioning.
In addition to running a business, timone is an assistant professor in the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. In her spare time, she serves as the treasurer of the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults and Associate Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium.
timone's dynamic energy and deep spirituality enhance her brand of teaching that engages one’s spirit through the use of storytelling. No matter the occasion, timone's mission is to help others open their hearts and minds to the soul-saving power of God's Grace, Love and Mercy.
*dr. timone davis uses lower case letters in the spelling of her name to indicate her willingness to embody the creedal assertion in John 3:30 in her everyday living.
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