The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 30th June, 2013

The fact that smoking has become so unacceptable in public has led to those who smoke being corralled in restricted smoking areas which, in many cases, has probably made them more visible than ever.  One interesting phenomenon has arisen in this context and it is the way the smokers care for their smoking area.  Efforts are made to keep it clean and, very often, rotas are established to ensure that everyone takes their turn.  This is necessary since, obviously, smoking generates quite an amount of detritus - not least of which are the cigarette butts which can so often be lazily dropped on the ground.  To assist in keeping things tidy there is, very often, a container with a sign that says: "Leave your butts here".

I have often thought that such a sign would be of use in a church - perhaps situated in a place where people could see it as they leave after Sunday Eucharist.  "Leave your buts here" (only one "t" this time!).  Don't be among those people who leave their Sunday Eucharist with energy and enthusiasm to follow the Lord and find themselves either distracted or discouraged by the events of life.  It is very easy to fall in to this trap.

I want to forgive everyone BUT not him because of what he did; I intend to share with everyone I meet BUT not with her because she already has enough; I plan to reach out to those in need BUT not on Tuesday or Thursday because I'm busy; I commit myself to pray every day BUT I find that I am too tired.

Until we learn to let go of our "BUTS" we are unlikely to be able to embrace discipleship.  If we continually listen to our "BUTS" we are probably never going to hear the voice of the Lord who is constantly calling us.

Today's gospel reading is talking about this sort of thing.  Jesus gives the stark example of those who have really important things to do.  They want to follow the Lord BUT these things need to be attended to.  Jesus is unambiguous; if you are following me you can't be doing something else.  Following Jesus is not something that can be taken up and put down again when it becomes inconvenient.  It is not something among other things.  It is the only thing that can take up our energy.

Certainly, there are always things to be done.  There are times when we all need to care for our families, fulfil our responsibilities, or even look after ourselves.  Jesus is not saying that these things should not be done; but they should be done without taking our gaze from him.

Sometimes we hear of people who claim that their faith does not impinge on their professional or daily lives.  This is a nonsense.  This is just another "BUT".  If faith is true faith it is something that underlies our lives at every moment and in every context.  No matter how it is dressed up, any attitude that chooses to pigeon hole or restrict or explain away what it means to be  believer is challenged by today's reading from the gospel.

"Leave your buts here" - as you leave your church this Sunday, what are the "BUTS" that you need to let go of?  What to you need to drop so that your hands will be free to embrace the Lord?


Article posted on 29th of June 2013

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