|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Room For Christ
Sunday, January 22, 2017
If we buy a new sofa, the first thing we have to do is to get rid of the old one to make room for the new one. If we decide to keep the old one, it will be hard to squeeze in the new one. There is a physical limit to space for furniture in any room.
This is a good metaphor for discipleship, as often we claim that we follow Christ, but we have made no room for him in our life. Fundamentally, we have squeezed him into a room that is already full.
The metaphor breaks down a little because God is not an object like furniture. Although sometimes we treat Christ as an object: we often keep him in the spare room of our hearts, and we bring him out when we need him. There are some who keep him in storage like Christmas decorations and bring him out for Christmas and Easter! Some of us even do that from week to week on Sundays. We do not really have him as a part of our every day living experience. We just roll him out, take him into the room and then put him back into the closet. God is not an object. God is a person with whom we need a relationship.
Perhaps the better metaphor is that of friendship! Although the couch is a colorful way to see how we need to make room for Christ in our lives, it is not fully accurate. The challenge with relationships is that we think we can always make room for another.
Actually, scientists and psychologists will tell us that we have limits to the number of our relationships, just as we have limits to the contents of a room in our house. Researchers and scientists say we can hold seven primary relationships before we start to lose control of them. Most of us can manage only three or four friends well.
Let’s face it; relationships are hard work. If we are really engaged in our friends’ lives, we chat regularly and listen carefully to their stories. It can be truly exhausting! There are only so many relationships that we can maintain if we intend to be true friends. And we cannot expect anything to change unless we have Christ as one of our primary relationships.
In today’s scripture, Christ is very clear: “Come and follow me.” He didn’t say, “If you get a chance, come talk to me.” He didn’t say, “Hey, you know, if you get some time later today, I’d like to have a chat.” He said, “Come and follow me.” The would-be disciples dropped their nets and followed him. That is very, very powerful.
There is only one way and that is what the disciples did. They dropped everything and followed Christ. We have to let go of something to make room for God in our life – to make room for Christ.