I think Jesus is telling us two things in the Gospel today.
FIRST: that it’s easy to get distracted by our fears. It’s possible to spend too much time thinking about our mistakes and our missed opportunities.
We can dwell on how people have treated us unkindly – and waste our energy deliberating on things that out of our control.
Jesus doesn’t want us to think about, or obsess over or waste too much time doing these types of things: fear no one – Jesus tells us – and consequently, I think, fear nothing.
So the SECOND thing I think Jesus is telling us --
what he wants us to do, more than anything else – is to shift our mindset – to have a conversion –
To encourage us to focus on what we love:
The purpose we find through our work.
On all the things that we are grateful for.
And most especially to focus on the God who loves us more than we can ever imagine:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So do not be afraid – you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Now, thinking about all those things we love – let’s just smile. Because it’s hard not to, isn’t it?
This is where we should be spending the majority of our thoughts and our time and our efforts – we need to focus on what we love!
Jesus knows that it’s very easy to incite FEAR. We live in a world where far too many people are pointing fingers, calling others names, and cursing their enemies – sometimes in the very name of God.
And there are too many people just stirring the pot – moving people to new, dangerous levels of violence, hatred, and suspicion.
Fear is one of our most primal emotions and it doesn’t take much for it to become one of the most influential feelings in our communities – driving important decisions and dominating our airwaves.
Again, Jesus wants us to make a shift in our mindset – he wants us to have a conversion ---
Jesus wants us to know that just as it is possible to incite fear – it is just as possible to incite LOVE:
By seeing the best in each other.
By embracing our differences rather than being afraid of them.
By finding ways to make each other thrive.
So as follower of Jesus Christ – we need to replace the scowls with smiles, the derisive comments with encouragement, and the suspicion with mutual respect.
Yes, it is possible to incite love. . .
So in between doing our work.
And the taxi driving for the kids.
And the exercise.
And the writing.
And the reading.
And more work.
And watching tv.
And the shopping.
And the cooking.
And all the mundane tasks around the house.
And all the busyness of life.
Don’t forget to love.
Give it to others
Speak it regularly.
Surround yourself with it.
Find a way to incorporate it in all the activities of your life.
That’s the one change, the one conversion – Jesus wants to accomplish in us more than anything else.
Because Jesus knows if we can shift from all the things that we fear, or all the things that distract us, or all the things that suck the energy and the life right out of us – most of which we have no control over – TO think about, to grow and to expend our time and energy on THE THINGS WE LOVE --
If Jesus, through his grace, can make that shift within each one of us -- -then Jesus knows that we can change the world.
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