Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

The word “obedience” means “listen to,” not simply to obey the rules dictated by someone in authority. In being obedient to God, we must listen to what God is saying to us... we must discern what the message coming from God truly means. Blind obedience is actually quite horrible for it eliminates the reality of our conscience and freedom to respond with open hearts. We first listen, then discern and then give assent; we become a part of the process of obedience.

Even God doesn’t compel us to blindly obey him but desires us to respond with thought, question and prayer. In the end, God may very well be calling us to do something we would rather not do; but we are called, in the end, to follow the path that God wishes us to follow, even to the point of suffering, if that’s what it means. And yet God still gives us the freedom to say NO to him. This choice, however, to go our own way, will never do us any good.

Jesus makes it so clear in the gospel that he “listens to,” is “obedient” to his Father in heaven. “Let only your will be done,” Jesus says the night before he died. He listened and followed. Jesus was absolutely obedient to the Father in heaven, and it led to the Cross on Calvary.

Blindly following is certainly easy, for there isn’t any thought involved. No discomfort. Just do what you are told. This is also very dangerous. Obedience as a virtue must entail internalizing what is being asked and then following. In situations involving war and following the commands of your superior, such “mulling over” is often not possible; you are called to do what you are told WITHOUT thinking, for the well-being and safety of those you are defending. But even in this situation of a “chain of command” obedience, one does the “mulling over” before going into the trenches. Those who listen and can’t follow military orders are called “conscientious objectors.” These individuals become obedient to their conscience, first and foremost.

A Christian is called to be obedient to the law of government and the law of the gospel. What happens when these two laws clash? Which will you give your “obedience?”

Fr. Frank