Getting Back to Basics
Daily Gospel Reflection 12/29/2022
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
For much of my adult life, I was a full-time musician. I was serious about my craft and continually sought to improve it. Whether taking music lessons, going to school, or working with other musicians, I was determined to get a deeper grasp of the musical language. I was so ready to give it everything that I even moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. While I started out as a classical guitar player, I would eventually find myself exploring different periods and styles of music during my musical journey. Many musicians will understand when I say I ultimately found myself in the so-called higher caliber of musicians dwelling in the jazz world. Let me clarify I love the jazz scene, and this does not apply to every jazz musician. Still, having spent enough time around many of these players and being one of them myself, there was most certainly an air of pretentiousness lingering. More importantly, I lost some essential joy in music as time passed. What was I missing? It seems I somehow forgot why I started, and the beauty of a simple groove or uplifting melody which had the power to put a smile on a person's face was no longer necessary. The truth is I forgot what was important, and I just needed to get back to the basics.
Christ reminds us in today's Gospel that to know Him, we must keep his commandments. For this article, I will focus on the Ten Commandments, as these are the fundamental roots of our faith. They are the foundation and blueprint to leading a Holy life, just as harmony and melody are the foundation that gives musicians a blueprint or guide to follow. The commandments guide how we can live a life of virtue and how to avoid sins. For example, the first commandment says, "I am the Lord thy God: though shalt not have strange gods before me." This essential commandment reminds us that He should be the most significant focus within our lives. Is God at the center of our lives? Are temporal things such as the phone, news, or any form of distractions pulling us away from a deeper, more meaningful life? Seriously, let's all reflect and be honest here. What is the first thing we give attention to when waking up, and what is the last thing we give our attention to before bed?
Catholic Priests generally remind their flock that following the commandments, reading scripture, and attending Mass regularly is a sure way to enrich one's spiritual life. I am so thankful for our Catholic faith, as its rich Tradition and history are centered on bringing us closer to Christ. As the new year is right around the corner, let's get back to the basics and make the resolution to be better Christians ardently seeking the Kingdom of God.
How can a man say that he believes in Christ if he does not do what Christ commanded him to do? From where will he attain the reward of faith if he will not keep the faith of the commandment? … He will make no advancement in his walk toward salvation, for he does not keep the truth of the way of salvation” (The Treatises of Cyprian, Treatise I, ch. II).