One of the charisms of the Franciscan lifestyle is supposed to be simplicity. As most people are inquiring about the Franciscan lifestyle, simplicity is often ellusive. We are such busy, complicated people. It seems like there are 20 places to be at always with multiple things to do. Learning to incorporate simplicity usually works best by prioritizing and then spending time on the things that are most important. You actually have to let the other things, less important stuff, go...fall off into oblivion, to be able to dedicate the time needed for the mportant things. God comes first and our relationship with Him, then family and responsibilities there, then work...then all the other stuff, social, recreation, hobbies, interests, etc.. Our spiritual, mental and physical health is an important element in all these priorities. St. Francis recognized this particularly at the end of his life as he apologized to his own body, whom he called “brother ass” for is rigid mortifications and mistreatments.
In our mass reading today (ACTS 13:26-33, JN 14:1-6), we hear St. Paul preaching at Antioch to those gathered at Synagogue, and then Jesus speaking to His disciples. Both are “breaking it down” to the elemental basics in their messages. Paul gives the briefest “Jewish history to Jesus” evangelization speech ever, but he doesn’t miss a thing! Jesus simply tells His discipes, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
We often think as if God has a scorecard and is counting good deeds as plusses and sins as minuses. We focus so hard on our behavior that we end up as if we can work our way into heaven. We can't. Often this even further complicates our busy lives. If we simplify, focusing first and foremost on our relationship with Jesus as the Way to the Father (God), we will learn to loving respond to Him in pleasing ways…(building up all those plus marks, if you will.) It happens naturally, simply, like it's supposed to. I’ve heard and passed on the acronym KISS! many times in work, sports, faith, relationship and parenting...Keep It Simple Stupid! Paul and Jesus remind us today that simplicity works all the way from our top priority in life (our relationsip with Christ), to evangelization, and so on. Francis was apparently on to something, eh? Peace and All Good, my friends!