Emptying is Filling Up

Sunday Gospel Reflection
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 10:37-42 | July 2, 2023

Emptying is Filling Up
by Carlo S. Dureza

Leaving everything behind––mother, father, family––taking up one’s cross, losing one’ s life, giving comfort to the little ones, welcoming Jesus and the One who sent Him…all these to attain God’s reward of eternal life. Tall order.

The Gospel today teaches that our Lord is worth more than everything the world could offer. For anyone who wants to follow Him, then these are the requisites. It means divesting oneself of the most precious things one possesses.

My first thought upon reading the Gospel today was that it may pertain to someone wanting to enter the priesthood or religious life. It seemed to me at first that Jesus was cautioning those aspiring for religious life of the heavy demand it would entail: complete detachment from worldly life for a lifetime of faith and service.

This would mean abandoning what is valuable to us for a life of embracing God in an uncertain walk for as long as we live. It is living in full trust and dependence on Him. We press on ahead without knowing what the future may bring.

My best friend entered the seminary when we finished college. At the airport just before embarking, he asked me to visit his mother every so often. He described his mama as “siya lang ang pinaka-close ko sa bahay”. Teary-eyed, he left in haste. After just less than a year, he left the seminary. He realized during his discernment process that he could not persevere leaving his mother. Indeed, the trek towards living to become completely dependent on Jesus is difficult and requires a lot of faith.

However, this does not just apply to those who choose to enter religious life. Like them, we are called to follow Jesus in our daily life. In choosing to live in and for Christ, one must be prepared to get emptied of personal sources of satisfaction and security. Attachment to ambition, wealth, fame and stature have no place in the heart of a follower of Jesus. We need to empty ourselves totally of what holds and consumes us that are not of God like jealousy, rivalry, and conceit in order for God to dwell in our hearts. We should not have Him share our attention and devotion with anything or with anyone. In genuinely answering the call of Christ to join in His mission, we must empty ourselves of whatever would replace Him. Only then can we fill ourselves with His power, presence, and love.

Let’s pray for the grace to empty our hearts of the things of this world that we may fill these with God.

Happy Sunday! God bless! 🤗👏💞

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