Today’s Gospel is the shortest of all Gospel readings in the Liturgy of the Church. If you are not attentive during Mass you might miss it completely! Even though it is short, we can still learn something from it. Jesus could not find time even for a meal when He went home. This tells us not only that he was phenomenally popular, but that there was an incredible hunger in the lives of the people for His teaching! It would thus seem to suggest that the religious authorities and structures of Jesus’ time were not fulfilling their proper duty, namely providing formation and spiritual sustenance to the People of God.

Sometimes it is important for all authority structures to review their effectiveness. If the peoples’ needs are not being met is it because of the unreasonableness of their requests or the inability of those in authority and ministry to meet legitimate needs? If the latter is the case then it is time for change. This is exactly the situation that Jesus finds Himself in. Indeed, all prophets will ultimately find themselves in a similar situation. Jesus demonstrates that changes are necessary in Jewish life and He finds Himself with a large following but also a number of opponents and even those who think He has lost His mind.

Like all people faced with a dilemma Jesus has to make a decision regarding what He will ultimately commit His life to. Will he give in to the authorities? Will He submit to those who think He is crazy? Or will He press on calling for the reforms He believes, even knows, are needed? Thankfully for us and ultimately for all people Jesus had a clear conviction about the mission of His life. He never falters, not even when facing death on a cross. He is finally vindicated beyond all peoples’ expectation when the Father raises Him from the dead! If only we could all live our lives with the same conviction, what a different world it would be!

How convinced am I that the way I am living my life is the way that God wants me to live it? Are their areas of my life that I do not submit to God? If not, why not?

Jesus, help me to follow the example of your life where you never strayed to the left or the right but kept your eyes, mind and heart fixed on the goal of obedience to your Father’s will.