The key point of yesterday’s retreat was that if we don’t want to be weighed down by the endless desires in our lives, we need to prioritize our desires. The key is to put our “thirst for God” as the top priority, then our other desires will be put in the right order easily.
Amazingly, this solution is also the key to living a life of freedom and abundance. There are many examples in the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels that illustrate this truth. For example, Jesus liberated the Samaritan woman at the well from the bondage of many desires (cf John 4:1-42); He reminded Martha not to be worried and distracted by many lesser things in life (cf Luke 10:38-42); He reminded His disciples not to serve two masters, not to serve God and wealth at the same time, not to worry about what to eat, drink, or wear, because our Heavenly Father knows that we need all these things (cf Matthew 6:24-34). There are countless examples that illustrate this is a core teaching and exhortation of Jesus to us as Christians. Therefore, He used different methods and parables to repeatedly emphasize the importance of this core Christian value.
Jesus wants us to clearly understand that following Christ is not a complicated matter; it does not require professional training, and it is not a teaching that only a few people can grasp. Our loving Father is not trying to make things difficult for us, nor does He want only a handful of people to become Christians, receive salvation, and embark on the journey to holiness. The purpose of this teaching is not only for us to be saved, but also for us to find truth in this world, to live a joyful life, to become people of the Beatitudes, and to enjoy life more abundantly! This is also the reason why Jesus emphasizes that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (cf John 14:6).
We must understand that although Jesus teaches us to take up our cross daily (cf Luke 9:23), it does not mean that God wants us to suffer all kinds of pain and persecution in this world in order to receive the reward of eternal life and happiness.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy a life of joy and freedom in this world, so He hopes that the Kingdom of Heaven can be present on earth, that we can find the Kingdom of Heaven, and enjoy the blessings and happiness that the Kingdom of Heaven brings to us!
Therefore, Jesus made a lot of effort in explaining the truth of the Kingdom of Heaven to the disciples through seven parables.
One of the shortest and most powerful parables that Jesus uses to describe the Kingdom of Heaven is the parable of the treasure.
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
If we apply the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven to the theme of our retreat, the “treasure” is “God’s thirst for us”. When we discover this treasure and learn of this truth, we should be like the Samaritan woman who, without hesitation, left behind her water jar and joyfully “sold” all her other desires to “buy” the promised land full of “God’s thirst for us”, refusing to continue to live under the bondages of numerous desires in order to become truly free.
Therefore, we need to emphasize here that life is not an endless and helpless struggle, a hopeless dead-end, or a curse filled with tribulations and persecutions.
Life has choices and a way out. The choice is in our hands, and Jesus tirelessly points out the direction of life and the way out for us in His teachings.
Because Jesus, the Good Shepherd, desires not only to free us from the bondage of sin and death, and bring us the grace of redemption, but also to give us life, and have it more abundantly (cf John 10:10)!
Do you find it difficult to let go of the desires in your life that keep you away from your Heavenly Father?
Have you ever felt like life has no choices or way out? Has today’s reflection brought you some inspiration?
Now, in your prayer, meditate on the teachings of Jesus and ask for guidance on how to make choices among various desires.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for helping me understand through today’s reflection that you and the Heavenly Father have not only paid a heavy price for my salvation, but have also patiently taught me over the years, endured my rebellion and constant abandonment, in order for me to enjoy the goodness of the Kingdom of Heaven and to have a joyful and abundant life. Thank You for helping me understand today that my life is not without options or ways out, and that You have quietly prepared the best for me! Please help me learn to cherish You, Your teachings, and all the graces You have bestowed upon me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.