From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 1st, 2008
Senior – Pre Med majoring in Psychology and Spanish
We all have a tendency to do it. We focus on what we have or have not done, what someone said, or what happened recently, all of which took place in the past. In today’s Gospel Jesus warns us against this emphasis on the past by reminding us to fix our gaze forward with our hands to the plow. This command is definitely a difficult one for me, since I often find myself dwelling on mistakes I made yesterday instead of working to remedy them today. For example, if I had a fairly lazy and unproductive day yesterday, I often let that reduce my productivity today by constantly reminding myself what I should have done yesterday. The same goes for the sin tendencies in my life that I beat myself up for long after I make the mistake.
Jesus specifically points out that those who spend their time looking at what was left behind are not “fit for the Kingdom of God”. Now I cannot profess to understand how or why God will grant admission to his Eternal Kingdom, but I do understand why he emphasizes paying attention to what is ahead, rather than behind us. By focusing on the past, we ignore what is happening around us in the present. If I am not carefully watching, I may even miss God, because as the first reading states, “Should he come near me, I see him not; should he pass by, I am not aware of him” (Job 9:11-12). The very possibility of missing God in the present due to our preoccupation with the past should be enough to more fully engage us in what is happening around us.
Spending less time looking at the past takes the focus off of our successes and our failures. This mental shift brings us closer to God in two particular ways. When we refuse to reminisce excessively about our accomplishments we promote humility by rejecting arrogance. Secondly, looking toward the future keeps us from dwelling on our sins. By continually reminding ourselves of how sinful we are, we let our sin stand in the way of bettering ourselves, which is exactly the opposite of what God wants from us when we sin. By all means we should learn from our mistakes, but we also need to remember that we cannot do anything about the past so dwelling on it simply prevents us from living a more holy life today.
In an attempt to become more humble and place less of a focus on
the sins we have committed, let’s try to catch ourselves when
we find ourselves dwelling on the past. In doing so, we may find
that we notice God more readily in the people and events around
us. Today let’s put our hands to the plow, look forward, and
work toward making ourselves fit for the Kingdom of God.
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