United under Jesus

I’ve always wondered what Zebedee’s reaction was to his sons just picking up and leaving their work with him to follow a stranger.  Knowing the harsh words that would have come out of my own father’s mouth in a comparable situation, I can’t imagine that Zebedee said nothing, or just sloughed it off.  Unless he saw that same something in Jesus that his sons did. There must have been something so compelling about Jesus that it would cause some to just drop whatever they were doing and follow him!

Indeed, this might speak to what St. Paul is addressing in the second reading today, that our loyalty to Jesus should supersede every other loyalty in our life, even our loyalty to our parents (1 Cor 1: 10-13, 17).  And, if that’s the case, then the distinctions we often make in the Catholic community these days ought to be questioned. It’s difficult, but I try my best to draw a line between my secular political views and what I believe that we are called to as a Church community.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t bring my Christian convictions to bear on the social issues of our day like care for refugees or protection of the unborn. In truth, we each differ in our preferences, and in the particular missions that God calls us to focus on. But, the divisions that we sometimes foster between “social justice” Catholics and “pro-life” Catholics, or “Pope Benedict” Catholics vs. “Pope Francis” Catholics are precisely what St. Paul is speaking so strongly against.  Certainly, we must first be Jesus Catholics, no matter where our other passions or particular vocations place us.

—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJ, is a Jesuit of the Central and Southern Province and is the Director of Campus Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.


Jesus, help me to follow you,
Help me to see you through all the blurriness of my vision,
Help me to hear you amidst the cacophony of competing voices,
Help me to touch you by offering a hand to the stranger,
Give me the courage to sow peace where there is division,
Give me the faith to stand where I believe you would stand,
Give me the humility to change my mind, and admit when I’m wrong,
I want to put you before all else.
I wanted to live in a community devoted to you.
Jesus, show us the way.

—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJ