Following Jesus

Jul 1, 2019

Last Sunday on June 30th, we celebrated the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

We listened to Jesus’ Voice in the Gospel Reading in Luke 9:51-62, calling us to follow Him with conviction and commitment.

 

Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday 

When the days for Jesus' being taken up were fulfilled,

he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him. 
On the way they entered a Samaritan village 
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?" 
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
"I will follow you wherever you go." 
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

And to another he said, "Follow me." 
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." 
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. 
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." 
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home." 
To him Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

In the same Gospel Reading, Jesus teaches us that it takes four (4) important decisions to become His convinced and committed disciples:

  1. It takes a person of peace

When the Samaritans would not welcome Jesus in their village, given the animosity which existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, his disciples [James and John] wanted some sort of revenge, ready to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans, but Jesus being a man of peace, encouraged his disciples to move on to another village as a peaceful way of diffusing tension and resolving conflict. Do we have those we consider enemies in our lives? Can you have the same attitude as Jesus, working to avoid confrontation or vengeance, willing to forgive, and looking for ways to make peace? Of course, making peace with an enemy is not always easy but it is what it takes being a convinced and committed disciple of Christ.

  1. It takes a sacrifice

When someone came up to Jesus wanting to follow him, Jesus pointed out the sacrifice involved especially of not having a place to call a home. We learn from the Church history and from the Sacred Scriptures that many followers of Jesus in the early Church made many sacrifices in the face of persecution, some even gave up their lives. Yet, in these our times, so many people find it hard to sacrifice even one hour for Sunday Mass, not to mention finding time for personal prayer. Being a convinced and committed disciple of Christ is more than saying we are; it takes a sacrifice.

  1. It takes a decision now, and NOT later

Think of the young man who would not make a decision to follow Jesus until he has buried his father, which of course may have been years away. How often do we say: when I get this done or that done, maybe I will have more time for Church or spend more time praying, and so forth? To most people this would smell like kicking the can down the road. Where we choose to spend our time tells much what is more important to us. The Palmist says: “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84: 10). This should serve as a wakeup call to all Christians.

  1. Is a Life-Time Commitment

Consider the teaching of the Lord: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God”. The take way is that following Christ is a life-time commitment. We cannot let emotions alone dictate to us when we feel like conducting ourselves as Christians, and when we do not feel like it, we put our faith values aside. Our faith in Jesus Christ, is too important to be uncommitted.

James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Man at the Plough (L'homme à la

James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Man at the Plough (L'homme à la charrue), 1886-1894. 

From the series  The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ (La Vie de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ)

 

Remember, in baptism, we made a commitment to follow Christ to the very end. Saint Paul puts it beautifully in his letter to the Romans 8:38-39: “ For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”, AMEN.

Peace be with you!

Fr. Frank

 

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