Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 5
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own; the
reason it hates you is that you do not belong to the world.”
As parents, my husband and I are always giving advice – sometimes requested but more often not. In some ways we still have a great influence over our teenagers, but there is a part of their lives that is much more impacted by their friends, peers and the world around them. The one thing we know so deeply as they approach adulthood, is how very much we love them.
This weekend we are celebrating as our oldest child graduates from high school. As I see her so ready to move beyond the family circle, I worry. Maybe we have forgotten to impart some critical piece of life knowledge. Will she go off to college next year and remember what we have said about peer pressure, gossip and treating people with respect?
Today’s gospel is a wonderful distillation of Jesus’ teachings for us and a timeless message that echoes what many parents want to say to their children. In it, Jesus sets up the challenge we face in following the gospel message: if we accept the world’s values, we may be quite popular and loved by the world but we would be turning our backs on the message Jesus came to bring us. If we have the courage to reject some of the shallow things the world values, we will be embracing the life of Jesus.
I know that my daughter has learned about the world and its values from my own imperfectly-lived life. I know my own struggles with wanting to be loved by everyone, pleasing people and often lacking the courage to stand up for my convictions, will be mirrored in some of the ways she chooses to live her life.
But the saving grace in the way both of us will do this so imperfectly is trusting, knowing well that God understands how flawed we are and loves us deeply and immeasurably in our stumbling way of living. “I chose you out of the world,” Jesus tells us today. Jesus calls each one of us “out of the world” to live in his footsteps, choosing us, calling us by name and holding us close with his gentle loving care.
Now I turn my daughter out into the world and into that gentle, loving
care of Jesus. Please, dear Katy, know how much I love you.
Know how much Jesus loves us both. May this knowledge help you not
love the world too much.
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