Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 26, 2014
Isaiah 9.1-4 | Psalm 27 | 1 Corinthians 1.10-13; 17-18 | Matthew 4.12-23

John Connelly

January 20, 2014

In this week's Gospel, Jesus calls to each of us and says, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

This simple phrase is filled with meaning for our lives. The Lord is calling us to a radical change of heart and mind. He invites us to a dynamic new perspective that will allow us to perceive his presence here and now.

All of us struggle with worry. We worry about our lives, our careers, our relationships and an ever-changing array of problems and difficulties in life. These worries are rooted in what St. John of the Cross and other saints call "attachments."

Jesus went through Galilee . . . proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. – Matthew 4.23

'Jesus went through Galilee . . . proclaiming the good news of the kingdom.'

Matthew 4.23

We all have these attachments. We are attached to our opinions, our possessions and our view of how we think our life should be. When things don't go the way we would like, we start to worry. These subtle attachments lead to the worry and anxiety that plague us all.

Jesus calls us to repent here and now. To be open to the reality of his presence in each and every situation that presents itself in life. To turn to him again and again and again.

St. John of the Cross taught that every attachment is like a thread attached to a bird. It makes no difference if the bird is attached merely by a thread or a strong rope. The bird cannot fly.

We are like this bird. Our spiritual life cannot soar as long as we are attached to our own way. We are all called to a profound interior freedom that cannot blossom as long as we are attached.

So the question is, how do we become free of attachments? I have found the following three words helpful: I let go.

John of the Cross taught that we must ultimately practise letting go of everything except God. Letting go is an interior disposition that lets God be in control. It is humbly acknowledging that we are utterly and completely dependent on God. I am called to let go gently and humbly to Jesus.

He is with me. I do not need to get uptight over my attachments but rather learn moment by moment to surrender them to the Lord of all. This is what the prayer "Your will be done" means. It is seeing our attachment to our own will and letting go to the will of God.

Lately, I have been meditating on the phrase, "Jesus with every breath I let go." My intention is to surrender my attachments to Jesus here and now. Every breath I take is a pure gift. It comes from Jesus one moment at a time.

I do not need to hold on to my will or let my attachments overwhelm me. Jesus is loving me right now. In his perfect love there is no fear (1 John 4.16). With every breath we take, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The reality is that in God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17.28). Letting go is an ongoing process and practice. It is a choice to become as St. Thérèse of Lisieux taught us - a spiritual child utterly dependent on the merciful presence and love of God.

So what can we do when anxiety and attachments arise within? We can choose to let go to Jesus with every breath.

Jesus with every breath, I let go.