In his homily Holy Father Pope Francis once highlighted the topic ‘focusing on God’ in our life. He said, “We should show that the centre of our faith is always the presence of Jesus, who invites us, even in adversity, never to tire of living his message of love, reconciliation and forgiveness.” Stressing on this point he continued: “We learn this from the martyrs of old and also of today, who “remained faithful to the Lord” even at the cost of their life, and “overcame evil with good.” Yes, God was the focus of the martyrs of all the ages and the centre of their life. They were not shaken by the adversities of life. Nothing could separate them from the love of God. The Psalmist says: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord, with him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Ps16:8). As followers of Jesus we need to focus our mind on Jesus and his life style. As we read in the Gospel, Jesus was busy with his Father’s business when he was just 12 years old (Cfr. Lk 2:49). At the age twelve Jesus already knew his life plan. He was focused on the mission that was entrusted to him by the Heavenly Father. After completing his mission on earth he said “It is finished” (Jn 19:28- 30). We find in Jesus a perfect example for how to keep our mind focused on God alone.
Jesus says in Mt 6:24, that we cannot serve two masters, we must focus upon one. To prioritise between these two masters we need the help of the Spirit of God. Only when we are attuned to the Spirit of God we can focus on divine things. To make oneself available to the Spirit of God is not easy but it can be done. We need to make a choice every moment to listen to the Spirit who leads us in the right path. How can we make the right choice in our life always? We have a beautiful example in the book of Psalms, where King David says: “Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love, for in thee I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to thee I lift up my soul” (Ps 143:8). Morning is the best time for us to listen to the Lord’s voice and to begin our daily activities. King David reminds us that in the morning we must listen to the voice of God. So we need to spend the early hours in reading and meditating the Word of God. We should begin each day with the Lord. As we read in the book of Lamentations, “His mercies are new every morning” (Lam 3: 22-23). God awaits us with his compassion and mercy every day. When we seek his mercy we will receive it in abundance because, Jesus says “I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). King David sought God’s direction in the morning and acted according to it and he attained great success in his life. There is only one way to achieve prosperity, peace and joy in our life and that is to focus on God’s will.
The more we spend our time in reading and meditating the word of God, the more we come to know his plan for our life. Challenges and difficulties are inevitable in our day to day life. Jesus reminds us over and over again in the Gospel that trials and sufferings are a part of our life. We have no control over them, but we can have control over our response to them. As the saying goes, every trial makes us stronger, gives us endurance and deepens our faith. When we remain with the Lord, he will fight for us. We read in the book of Exodus: “The Lord will fight for you and you have only to be still” (14:14). We can respond to trials and temptations by taking refuge in God who controls all that happens to us. Jesus was victorious in his temptations because he used the Word of God to defeat the tempter.
When we look up, God looks down. In our day to day life we are called upon to focus our attention on God who is all powerful. In Mt 14: 29 we read Peter expressing his desire to walk on the sea. As long as he kept his eyes focused on Jesus he was able to walk on the waters towards him with enthusiasm and courage. However when his attention was diverted, he lost his courage and began to sink. God asked Joshua to obey every bit of the law commanded by Moses and said: “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the Law shall not depart out your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night…” (Joshua 1:7-8) The book of the Law is nothing but Jesus himself. When we are faced with difficult circumstances we must saturate ourselves with the Word of God. We need to keep in mind that daily reading of the Word of God helps us know who God is and how to align our life with him. If we take one step towards God, God takes two steps towards us. The Word of God should always be our point of reference. The secret of success of our life depends on our total surrender to Jesus, who says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). He assures us through Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands” (Is.49:15-16). God is more than a mother to each one of us.
Jesus always gave first place for the will of his Heavenly Father. Fulfilling the will of the Father was his food and drink. When Jesus becomes the main focus of our life we will seek to fulfil God’s will in our life. His words will become the rule of our life. May our heart, mind and soul long for God, our ultimate goal. To lead an effective and efficient Christian life we need to focus our whole being on Jesus, ‘for apart from Him we can do nothing’ (Jn 15. 5).
Sr. Soly Kunnel SAB