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Summer’s here and now is the time to Make Today Count

  • August 15, 2013

Summer is under way and it’s time for road trips. Whether it is a short trip from a small town to a big city for the weekend, a coast-to-coast marathon to see Canada in an over-packed car or a backpacking Euro-rail adventure, a road trip is often an adventure — and maybe even a first step in finding our own unique life path.

No matter our age, there is nothing like a road trip to get us out of our familiar, comfortable ruts and give us a new perspective on the world. Yet road trips don’t come with guarantees of safety and success. Road trips come with potholes and pitfalls, genuine dangers and encounters with the unknown and unpredictable.

Repeatedly in Scripture, the Gospel writers speak of Jesus setting His face toward Jerusalem. His was a road trip to the cross. Much of the world views this journey as the epitome of a bad trip — a trip that ended in Jesus’ betrayal, rejection, torture and death. But Jesus’ disciples, whether in the first or 21st century, view His Jerusalem road trip as something quite different: the start of a great journey that transformed the life paths of all the generations that followed Jesus.
But here is the question — if you knew your road trip would mean sacrifice, surrender and death, would you begin it? Christ did, so why? I think He did it for two reasons, and these two reasons should guide our summer.

First, Christ knew the Father had a plan. He was pointed in the direction of the Father. He was determined to walk the way of the Father. He was open to who He met but knew He had to follow the way of the Father. Over and over Jesus did good in town after town, but He never rested on His accomplishments. He pressed on towards Jerusalem. The explanation for this: He believed the Father was sending Him there for a reason.

During your summer road trips, do you believe God has something He wishes to show you? Do you consent to God’s plan for you? Do you concur that, even when schools are closed, summer hours are in effect in many workplaces and routines slow down, God is still at work, full time, every day? As Jesus set His face towards Jerusalem, are you able to set your face towards God’s will for you?

Here is the second thing that guided Christ, and should guide us also. I call it MTC — Make Today Count. Jesus knew where He was going. The destination of His road trip was clear — faithfulness to the Father was like a GPS directing Him to Jerusalem. So Jesus went about each day with a MTC attitude. He fed those who needed feeding. He healed those who needed healing. He taught those who needed teaching. He embraced those who needed embracing. He scolded those who needed scolding. He touched those who needed touching. He didn’t worry about so many of the things we worry about. His destination was set. His path was firm. His will was certain. His determination was concrete.

He constantly moved toward the conclusion, toward becoming who the Father called Him to be. That was His road trip.

What a road trip we could have this summer if we adopted a MTC approach. Make today count. Have a picnic lunch with your spouse, child or grandchild; go for a walk in the evening with someone important in your life; break that diet and have a scoop of ice cream with your child or grandchild; run around in the park because even though your muscles will ache tomorrow you will say “yes I’m glad we did that.”

Spiritually too. Gather around your iPad or photo album and enjoy the family photos; give thanks in prayer for those who are important to your family; offer a prayer for a grandparent, a neighbour, a friend gone by who has helped you along the road. MTC. is also about making relationships — with family and God — count.

A summer road trip can be amazing if, like Jesus, you do two things: Stop sweating the small stuff as you place trust in the Father’s plan, and make today count.

(Fr. Freitas is pastor at St. Mary of the Visitation parish in Cambridge, Ont. His book Are We There Yet? is available from Catholic Register Books by calling 416-934-3410 or toll free 1-855- 441-4077)