What pulling off a Band-Aid teaches us about the spiritual life

Matthew 9:9-13

We all know the best way to rip off a Band-Aid, you have to tear it off quickly and in one go!  More often than not we do not do this because we are a little afraid of the pain.  So we start tugging gently at the Band-Aid, thinking that it will hurt less or be easier if we take it off slowly.  In the end though, after hesitation and some false-starts, we eventually just tear it off quickly because this is simply the best way to do it.  This example of the Band-Aid illustrates an important general principle for our life: some things are best done quickly.

Sometimes we are slow to respond to what Jesus is asking of us.  In various areas of our life we know what Jesus wants from us, but we hesitate to do it.  For example we may be convinced in our heart that Jesus is asking us to give something up in our lives.  Perhaps it is a sinful behaviour.  Maybe it is something that is not of itself bad but is taking too much of our time and is leading us away from God. It could be that we know Jesus wants us to spend less time watching TV, surfing the web or gossiping with friends on the phone.  Or maybe we are convinced that Jesus is asking us to start doing some good activity in our life.  Perhaps we know we should spend more time with God in prayer, get involved in a parish group or give more money to the poor.  Though we know what Jesus wants us to do, we hesitate to do it.  It actually makes doing the thing more difficult and more painful in the end.  It is like when we take our time pulling off a Band-Aid instead of giving it one quick pull.  We are afraid to pull it off because of the pain but in the end it ends up hurting more.  For various reasons, whether it be fear, laziness or discouragement, we can often be slow to respond to what Jesus is asking us to do in our life.

Responding quickly to the call of Christ is usually the best approach.  Doing what Jesus is asking of us decisively and with determination is usually what is best for us in the long run.  In today’s Gospel we see this clearly in the life of St. Matthew.  We find that Matthew is a sitting at his custom’s post.  He is a tax collector, someone who was looked down upon by the other Jews.  Jesus passes by Matthew and asks him to follow him.  Matthew probably knew who Jesus was before, maybe he was drawn by his teaching.  At this moment Matthew knew exactly what Jesus was asking of him, that he become his follower.  He also knew the consequences of this action.  He was leaving behind a job and security for a risky, unknown future.  But Matthew takes courageous action.  He knows what Christ wants from him and he does it.  Getting back to our Band-Aid analogy, Matthew goes ahead and rips off the Band-Aid is one clean pull.  If he had hesitated, perhaps Matthew would never have left his post and followed Christ.  The decision to do what Jesus asked forever changed his life.  He came to know Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.  He became an evangelist, helping to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Matthew is a great example because he teaches us that responding quickly and decisively to what Jesus asks of us is what is best for us.

Today let us look in our life and see if there is anything that we know that Jesus is asking us to do, but we are hesitating to do it.  Examine yourself to see if you have any Band-Aids that you are hesitating to pull off.  We all have areas in our life where we are reluctant to change or do some thing even though we know that Jesus is asking it of us.  After having done this, let us ask Jesus for the grace to act quickly and decisively in carrying out what it is that He is calling us to do.