Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 30, 2019
Most people have heard of Attention Deficit Disorder. Unfortunately, it’s a condition that is almost epidemic. “Impact ADHD” is an organization with the stated purpose of “helping families help kids” live around the challenges of Attention Deficit. In an article published on its website, the skill of prioritizing is discussed as a way to bring order to a life which might otherwise become chaotic and disordered.
Parent and author Diane Dempster suggests that it is possible to help kids with ADHD develop the ability to “think through things sequentially.” Dempster explains: In my house, I share my to-do list on the weekends. “I’m going to the store first because it takes the longest and I want to get it out of the way. Then I’m going to garden because I enjoy it more – and I can work up an appetite before lunch. I have to balance my checkbook but I’ll do that this afternoon when I’m tired and want to sit down.”
It seems to make good sense. When we prioritize, we are less overwhelmed and frustrated and ultimately more productive. Prioritizing is an important life skill that helps to keep disorder and chaos at bay.
In today’s Gospel, and in an almost shocking way, Jesus encourages us to “think through things sequentially.” The lesson is simple: every “to-do list” should begin with God. Nothing should come before God, because nothing is more important than God.
Most people of faith make the connection between salvation and a healthy relationship with God. But in our Second Reading, St. Paul seems to be telling us that ordering our lives according to God’s plan makes our earthly lives more livable…more enjoyable…more productive…much less chaotic….and filled with Christ’s Peace.
So how does this work?
Maybe something like this: I’m going to say a little prayer…AND THEN go to the store. Shopping takes the longest and I want to get it out of the way…so I will ask God to help me use my time well.
Then I’m going to garden because I enjoy it – and the first thing that I will do is say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the fun I have working with the flowers and plants.
I have to balance my checkbook but I’ll do that this afternoon when I’m tired and want to sit down…and I will start by praying for the energy to concentrate on being a good steward.
The world has changed beyond imagination since the three people approached Jesus hoping to become disciples. In this high speed, hi-tech age, there are countless things that distract us from what God is asking of us. It is more important than ever that we get our priorities right and plan our lives sequentially. If we hope to end our lives in Christ, God must always come first and above all else. That is the proper sequence: God first, God last, God in all things.
To push back against chaos that threatens our spirits and our peace, God must be given top priority every day and in every way. To order our lives according to God’s plan, God must be constantly on our mind and on our lips and in our hearts.
What has not changed since Jesus was approached by the three is the cost of discipleship. The Lord does not sugarcoat it. It involves commitment, discipline, and even persecution. But when we remain focused, the benefit of being always attentive to God is a new kind of freedom that we will enjoy fully in The Kingdom.