Monday, July 8, 2013

Late Posting: Following the Lord with Resolute Determination

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

“Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” – one of the themes that characterized the gospel according to St. Luke is the theme of the journey. He spoke of the life of our Lord as one big journey to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the favorite destination of the Jewish pilgrimage because of the temple of the Lord built on it. Every year, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover and they brought Jesus with them. But this time, the Lord resolutely went to Jerusalem not simply to celebrate the feast. He went to Jerusalem for his own Passover: the Son of Man was to suffer and die in Jerusalem in order to enter into his glory. It was for this that he came down from heaven. He came to suffer and die in order to redeem us from sins.

He was so determined to fulfill his mission in Jerusalem that he left his own home at Nazareth. That is why he said to the one who expressed his desire to follow him: “Foxes have dens and the birds of the sky have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” The Lord was so determined to accomplish his task in Jerusalem that when the time for it has come, he bid his own mother goodbye. That is why to the one who would follow him only after the death of his father, the Lord said: “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And to the one who wished to bid first his family farewell, the Lord said: “No one who takes a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” In other words, the Lord demands that those who wish to follow him must give up mother, father, wife, children, and home…without counting the cost. The Lord is not a home wrecker. Family and home are valuable to him. But even such should not come between a disciple and his mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else will be given unto you.” The price of following the Lord is indeed very high and the Lord made this clear to all who wish to follow him: total detachment from everything that the world holds dear: material comforts, possessions, and family ties.

And as the Lord resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, so also those who wish to follow him must share in this resolute determination. Hold on to the plow and do not look to what was left behind. Do not regret what you gave up for him. Just as it is not right to take back a gift that has already been given, so do not take back what you have given up for the Lord. Only look forward and set your eyes upon Jesus who waits for you at the end of the journey. Using St. Paul’s words in yesterday’s feast: “Compete well, run the race, keep the faith.” Keep your eyes on the prize. We do not run for a crown of leaves that wither and die. We run for the crown of everlasting life which is definitely worth more than everything we have given up in order to run this race. Christian life is one Amazing Race. Let us run so as to win!

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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