15th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday

When Our Lord calls us to follow him more closely, no matter what path of life he’d like us to walk, it is often not at the same speed or in the same way as those we love. Sometimes we can feel like we’re being treated like the black sheep of the family when we’re the only white one: we have to choose between the love of God and the love of our family in questions of sin, the only scenario in which love for God and love for our family can truly be in opposition. We pray that we never find ourselves in that situation, but Our Lord warns us in today’s Gospel that he can be a source of division. However, if he does shake things up in a family it is to help the conversion of one or more members be a source of grace and conversion for the rest. Each one in the end has to welcome the gifts of grace from God, so sometimes divisions will remain, and we must continue to love and pray.

We are all responsible for each other to draw closer to God, which is why we must not only foster openness to God’s will in our own lives, but openness to his action in the lives of our loved ones as well. When God appears to be calling a son or daughter to the priesthood or consecrated life, that can be a test of whether we put God or ourselves first: suddenly it seems that son or daughter loves Someone Else, and jealousy can ensue, but if we truly seek blessings and happiness for that son or daughter in faith we support them knowing that God’s path is the best one.

Let’s pray for all those “white sheep” out there in a family of black sheep, and also for those considering any vocation to be open to God’s will for their lives.

Readings: Exodus 1:8–14, 22; Psalm 124:1b–8; Matthew 10:34–11:1.