Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church
(Hebrews 10:1-10; Mark 3:31-35)
Some commentators see Jesus rejecting Mary and his relatives in this gospel passage. But it seems fairer to say that he is only declaring God the priority of his life. Francis de Sales did much the same as a young man.
Francis came from an aristocratic family. After sending him to study law, his father expected him to serve as a local magistrate. He even picked out a noblewoman to be Francis’ wife. Francis, however, wanted to serve the Lord as a priest. Through the intervention of the bishop of Geneva, he was ordained. In time he became a marvel – converting Calvinists and sharing his possessions with the poor. He served as bishop and wrote a much acclaimed treatise on spirituality. Two centuries later he was declared a doctor of the Church.
We all have preferences – baseball rather than football, CBS news rather than ABC, tea rather than coffee. What Jesus asks of us is that we make God our first choice. We place him above family, friends, even our own life. He promises that we will never be disappointed when we do so. We will find that we can become a better relative, friend, and person by making God our priority.