Our world today is noisy and there is a lot that clamors for our attention. How do we break free of this? We need to align our priorities with the priorities of Christ. But what are Christ’s priorities? Mike “Gomer” Gormley dives into answering that question in today’s show.
Snippet from the Show
If you are trying to determine what to value and what to prioritize, look to Christ. He is the standard.
The world is loud, shiny, and demanding. The Christian is to be in the world, not of the world, but it is so hard to put kingdom priorities above the clamor. How do we know Christ’s priorities? How do we adopt his values? Especially since the Bible says “What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God.”
Jesus Christ is the God-Man, but we often dehumanize him for the sake of his divinity. He is Emmanuel, God-With-Us. He is God-made-man. This man then reveals the heart of God through his human heart. Thus, the humanity of Christ, perfect and grace, becomes the standard of values, the standard of priorities. He establishes himself as the Standard, thus our pleasures and pains, our duties and privileges, are ordered to him.
First, Jesus is the Revealer and the Redeemer.
As Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes taught, Jesus fully reveals God to humanity and man to himself. He communicated and revealed the inner life of God and the innermost meaning of man. As Redeemer, he is the bridge over the gulf sin created between us and God. He establishes oneness(atonement, reconciliation), which brings a radical newness of life.
Second, The Thing Jesus Hated the Most
Let’s walk through how he attacks the vice of greed for money.
- Matthew 6:4 Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon”.
- Luke 16:13 “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- He condemns the Pharisees and scribes for “devouring the houses of widows” because of their love of money.
- In the Temple, Jesus didn’t scourge the religious leaders, but the moneychangers!
- Matthew 13:22 In the parable of the sower and the seed, the thorns that choke out the Gospel are because the “Cares of the world and delight in riches choke the word so that it proves unfruitful.”
- Luke 8:14 “They are stifled by the care, riches, pleasures of life and never reach maturity.”
There was a scene where two brothers come to Jesus with an argument over inheritance. Rather than solve the problem justly, Jesus Christ instead speaks against covetousness, desiring for ourselves more than our needs. Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 13:13-21) who rests secure in his fortune, only to die and render an account of his life. Ponder this parable in Luke 13 and then read slowly the next 13 verses.
- Jesus also says if our eye or hand causes us to sin, pluck and cut! (Mt 18:8)
- All things shining will pass. Kingdoms, empires, fortunes, oligarchs and tyrants, all things pass.
- The only rational thing to do is “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor thief can destroy”
- “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Put your treasures in Heaven and your heart will follow.
- The rich may enter the kingdom of Heaven, but will only do so when they use their money for good. This is the point of the parable of the Unjust or Dishonest Steward.
Point About Greed
What we do now decides who we will be forever.
Third, Jesus Attacks Human Foolishness
We need to admit that Jesus’ values, priorities, and standards have never been fully lived out or at least embodied in a social or institutional way. Weaknesses of the will lead us to sin and failure. Weaknesses of the intellect cause us to veer off track. This is foolishness. When pressed about Kosher, Jesus said, it’s not food that goes into a man that make him unclean, but what comes out of him because it comes “out of the heart.”
- In the 12 things that Jesus rattles off, 5 things are evil actions: fornication, adultery, etc. 6 things are states of mind and the 12th is “foolishness”!
- We put transient things ahead of the eternal and unchanging; creatures ahead of the Creator. Fads, fashions, passing opinions, the praise of people who really don’t know us.
- Christ said these actions and states-of-mind damage “the heart”. All such sins harden the heart, closing it off from anything but self-interest.
Fourth, Parables Are About Two Things, Either the Kingdom or the Individual
- Parables about the individual person are usually not about great sinners doing horrific things. Rather, they are about the average man’s sins: talents wasted, God’s gifts unused, self indulgent actions, emptiness, futility.
- The point is not about this or that sin, but about the condition of the heart.
- Jesus is not offering a prescription for a pill to fix what ails your broken, evil heart, but a way of life as the only cure.
Fifth, All About the Heart Means the Way is Love
- When summarizing the commandments, Jesus drew from the tradition of the Two Commandments: Love the Lord your God… Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Jesus gave a new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
- Jesus never defines love, but constantly shows it in action. “If you love me, keep my commandments”.
- Bear one another’s burdens, bear with one another.
- Forgive one another.
Condition of the Heart is Why Prayer matters for the Moral Life!
Prayer is the union of man with God, the union of our hearts. This is why we have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Mary’s immaculate heart- hers being the first disciple to beat as one with her Son’s. What keeps our hearts separate? It is the self.
Sixth, What Can We Deduce from the Gospels About Jesus’ Priorities and Values?
From end-to-end of the gospels, Jesus really makes clear that all our choices make the difference. We don’t seem pre-scripted and predestined. We cannot be saved without our cooperation with grace, nor damned without our refusal of grace.
Finally: The Top priority Is to Do the Will of God.
Jesus heals the self. It is no kindness for the doctor not to tell the patient what diseases they have, nor the consequences.
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Meet Your Hosts
Michael “Gomer” Gormley
Michael spent 17 years in full-time parish ministry and is now the Mission Evangelist for That Man Is You!, a men’s apostolate for Paradisus Dei. Michael is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and parish missions all over the US and Canada.
He is the founder and creative director of LayEvangelist.com, and hosts two popular Catholic podcasts: Catching Foxes and Every Knee Shall Bow.
He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and has four beautiful and hilarious children: Kateri, Cecilia, Noah, and Thomas.
Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.
He is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.
Dave married his late wife Amber in 2010. He now resides in Pittsburgh with his five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.