Scripture Reading: Luke 9:61
Today, the call to discipleship is so urgent, demanding total resignation to the will of the Master. The passage we are looking at today presents a man who desires to follow Jesus of his own accord. But he had not fully made up his mind to let go of those things that would eventually cause him distractions in his followership of the Lord. He had his intention examined. He had resolved to follow Jesus. However, for him to follow Jesus, there was an immediate need which he considered pressing before following Jesus. He was not ready to fully bid those things goodbye. Jesus quickly responded to him: “Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of heaven.” (Lk.9:62)
Dearly beloved in Christ, the call to discipleship entails total surrender to the will of God through Jesus our Lord; total detachment from the things of this world that would be barriers to effective discipleship. In our followership of Jesus, we must remove every condition and follow Jesus wholeheartedly. The apostles left everything and followed Jesus. Hear this “…And Jesus said to them, come after me and I will make you fishers of people. And at once they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little further He saw James, son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending the nets. At once He called them and, leaving their father Zebedee, in the boat with the men he employed, they went after Him.” (Mk.1:16-20) The Gospel of St. Luke accounts that: “…Then, bringing their boat back to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Lk.5:11) This is what true discipleship entails, leaving all things behind and following devoutly and unconditionally the Master who has called us. They left all they had acquired, all they had laboured for, all their family members; in short, they knew what was best and they followed it. They were not ready to continue in those things that filled them with temporal joy or frivolities. They saw the real deal and they went after it committedly. The things of this world meant nothing to them, for all are vanities. In Jesus, they saw the real wealth and they would do anything to possess it. They were ready to leave the world and all the goodies it offered them to embrace everlasting joy and bliss. Indeed, they left everything to follow Jesus, the Bread that can satisfy all hunger, and the Water that quenches all thirst. (Is.55:1)
Dear friend, do you know the reward for following Jesus unconditionally? Jesus says: ”…In truth I tell you, when everything is made new again and the Son of man is seated on His throne of glory, you yourselves will sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much, and also inherit eternal life.” (Mt.19:27-29) Jesus gives the condition for following Him. He says: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.” (Lk.9:23-24) We must understand that in following Jesus, it is a daily struggle through the way of Calvary; it entails leaving the past and focusing on Jesus. St. Paul says: “…Forgetting what laid behind me, and straining forward to what lies in front, I am racing towards the finishing-point to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.3:13-14) The same St. Paul accounts that, “Yes, I will go further, because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. For him, I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them as filth if only I can gain Christ and be given a place in Him, with the uprightness I have gained not from the law, but through faith in Christ, an uprightness from God, based on faith.” (Phil.3:8-9) Brethren, you cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and continue to wallow in sin. The Lord says concerning those who claim to be Christians and still engage in those things that are unchristian that, “I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev.3:15-16) You cannot live a double standard life in Christ. It is either you are in Christ or not. But remember, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who have followed Jesus wholeheartedly. (Rom.8:1)
MASS: WHITE Acts 13:44-52; Ps 98:1.2-3ab.3cd-4 (R.3cd); Accl. Jn 8:31b-32; Jn 14:7-14 or Mass of Memorial Is 61, 9-11; Ps 44, 11-12.14-15.16-17; Lk 11, 27-28OUR LADY OF FATIMA (Opt Mem)
1. Thank the Lord for the gift of His Word
2. Take to the Throne of Mercy those obstacles that hold you from totality surrendering yourself in following the Lord; these obstacles should be removed.
3. Tell Jesus to fill you with His grace to follow wholeheartedly, without reservation.
4. Claim yourself for Jesus and no other powers or human inclinations.
Exercise: Take the prayer of “Self-Surrender to God”.
Meditation: Colossians. 3:2