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Listen, Obey, Witness

“Whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the One who sent me.”

Thank you for joining today as we continue our Ordinary Time journey focused on listening to, obeying, and witnessing to Jesus.

Why does Jesus say such difficult things? It is a common question and a very popular question in our day and age. People pick up the tough sayings of Jesus and say: ‘Look at this – how stupid. He doesn’t’ want me or us to be free. God is not worth believing in because He is mean and controlling.’

Indeed, Jesus does ask much of us. He wants us all-in, completely dedicated to listening to His commands and His way (not my way), to obedience (not going my own way), and to witness to His tough call (do I really have to?). He tells us that this priority is first, even before family. 

We cringe, don’t we, when we hear words like obligation, obedience, duty, sacrifice, submission, requirement, restraint, perseverance, follow, and commandment. I am sure you could think of others. But those are the all-in things Jesus asks of us, to put Him and the Kingdom first.

Jesus asks us to put our old selfish selves and self-interest away and allow ourselves to listen to, obey, and witness to Him above all things.

What does it mean to carry out Jesus’ work, to fulfill our obligation for His having saved and reconciled us and for forever ending death so we might have eternal life? It means that we must level-up our faith. We must work hard to overcome the things that are broken in us and the obstacles and enemies in our way with the help of His grace. We must endeavor to be not just different, but different and ever better.

If we were to draw a map from where we were just a few years earlier, and for older folks perhaps decades earlier, would we be on the same level or have we leveled up?

You may remember the picture of Jesus standing outside a door. If you observe closely, He is knocking but cannot enter on His own. The door on the outside has no doorknob. We must open the door for Jesus. That is where we start leveling up, by letting Jesus in. Unfortunately, too many think they are being progressive, by not only refusing to open the door, but by locking it and barring it. Don’t let Jesus in. I’ll stay where I am. It looks like I am moving, but I’m just falling. Waaaaaaaa…

As we set forth into the days and decades ahead let us resolve to level up. Let us level up our faith, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and our love. Let us let Jesus in and accept His grace and His tough sayings which will make us better than we are today.

To those who say: ‘Look at this – how stupid. Jesus doesn’t’ want me or us to be free. God is not worth believing in because He is mean and controlling,’ we can say: ‘God wants me to succeed, to level up, to listen, obey, and witness and to obtain all His glory.’