Reading the gospel from today, I see myself so much like the Pharisee, in that he “invited Jesus to dine with Him.” I was doing that! I was inviting Him in, every morning, every time I prayed. I was inviting Him in and racing through our time together, thinking “this is surely enough.” But despite this, the pain didn’t seem to let up, and I could not find the same peace that had carried me through other trying seasons of life. In my contemplating of this constant unrest, I would justify my lack of commitment and intentionality with Him by reminding myself of my sheer busyness. Little did I realize, my racing through our time together only led to my inability to let Him into where I needed His healing. The Lord is desiring to enter into each of our hearts. He is always waiting for us to invite Him deeper and deeper into our souls. When we can bring ourselves to trust in Him and show Him this vulnerability, He will match it tenfold, as He so beautifully proves, each time we turn back to Him.
I had spent so many years in the past valuing self-reliance and grit above all else. I thought to be able to walk a 6-hour foot patrol in the Iraqi summer, with all that body armor and equipment, was the pinnacle of manhood. I valued the rough men who I served with-- tough cops, soldiers, skilled fighters and hard drinkers. I was proud to be a part of that community and aspired to little more. That was, I believe, the underlying reason I was so angry and unhappy. A life absent of Christ can have no peace. Our first reading today gave me a new armor to wear... "Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
Today’s readings remind me that we are called as God’s holy ones to be disciples and make disciples. Not only do these readings call us to be active disciples, but they also equip us with the prayers and tools we need to fulfill our call. There are so many times where I feel God leading me in one direction, but like Simon Peter, I feel like my sin disqualifies me. I’m just an everyday person that fails Jesus constantly. How could Jesus possibly use ME?