“Love at first sight.” Must have been what happened when Jesus called the first Apostles. They left everything, their family, their boat, their job in order to follow Jesus. They must have seen Jesus and fallen in love with Him at first sight.
The majority of us can remember the first that we fell in love. I was an “early bloomer”. By the fifth grade I was madly in love. I never told her because I didn’t want to ruin the relationship. Fifth grade romances are usually classified as “Puppy love”. As we mature we learn that any relationship involves responsibility. Teenagers might date someone, but dating cost money. Parents prefer that dating be kept to a minimum in order to focus on schoolwork. Young adults are too often blinded by physical attraction, which is sometimes confused with love. Time is the best test of any relationship. “We’ve known each other for 5 years.” “That’s nice. What has been the quality of your dating experience? Where do you go when you see each other?” “We go out to the movies.” Going to the movies is not the best place to engage in conversation. Getting to know each other happens after a lot of conversation. Sharing dreams about the future. Talking about fears. Describing the family to each other because we are all the products of our families. Only after the investment of time can we say that we truly love somebody. The Apostles were called and they said “yes”. However, only after spending time with Jesus, learning from Him, suffering with Him could they say that they really loved Him. The call was the beginning. Along the journey they might have had second thoughts. Perhaps the original “Yes” was not always as strong as the day that they left everything to follow Jesus.
Same happens in everyone’s life. We receive a Sacrament; we are touched by a religious experience; we see an inspiring movie—and we are ready to lay down our life for the Lord. Then the distractions come crashing in from all sides. The mundane stuff like having to go to work, paying bills, household chores. The romanticism of a conversion wares off quickly. “Overnight conversions” usually last only overnight. That’s why it’s best to wait a few weeks after a retreat before we commit ourselves to a ministry. If the call is authentic, it won’t go away. When we truly love someone, the love won’t go away. Love does not change with our moods. If it does, then it’s not love.
The more that we compare our relationship with Christ to our relationship with people in our life, the better we will understand. “Tell me how you are doing in your relationships and I’ll tell you how you are doing with God.” A person that doesn’t feel loved cannot come close to God. The seeds of love are planted in the home. Family life should have top priority for parents with children. If neglect, or abuse or indifference occurs at an early age, the developmental years will suffer. A crooked tree, once grown, is very difficult to change. Parents are responsible to nurture their children in the Faith, by personal example. Don’t tell your children to pray if you don’t. Not a good idea to say, “You go to Church and pray for me.” Come with them, lead by example. Of course I’m preaching to the wrong people, but who knows—might be someone here that visiting. Opportunity calls. That’s the way God works—through the voice of others. We are constantly being challenged to grow—to do better than we are doing—to be better than we are. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Women too. Just means that God wants to use us—every one of us—no exceptions. Not a valid excuse to say, “I’ve done my turn. I’m too old. Or I’m a winter Texan.” Our time is now—the call is for this day—this moment. If our love for the Lord is real—the call will stick. We will keep hearing the voice of God. We will desire to grow in our Faith.
Lots of work ahead. Our home is where most of us have to start. The faith we live at home can change the world.