The WORD in Other Words by Fr Elesio Yyansi SVD (Philippines)
Friday Week 17, Lv 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37, Mt 13:54-58
Henri Nouwen, one of the great spiritual writers of modern times, reflecting on today ‘s gospel, wrote:
It fascinates me that Jesus finally had to establish his authority outside the circle of his family and friends. All we know about his relationship with his parents is his taking distance from them in the temple when he was twelve years old, in Cana when many wanted to intervene, during his preaching or when the family wanted to visit him.
Family is where we grow up into adult, mature people, but we have to leave our families to fulfill our deepest vocation. Family can give us a sense of belonging, but in order to claim our deepest belonging, our belonging to God, we have to move away from those who pretend to know us and discover the deepest source of our loves, our parents, brothers and sisters do not own us. Without leaving them it is hard to fully become free and listen to the one who called us even before we were born. Jesus often had to say no to his family in order to be able to say a full yes to his father in heaven.(Our Second Birth by Henri Nouwen)
Likewise, those of us who have been called to a religious and missionary life, and even those who intend to follow Jesus, have to be constantly reminded of this beautiful yet challenging thought: one has to learn how to say no to our families and friends, distance from them, in order to be fully free and totally committed to fulfill our mission, the mission of Jesus.