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THE WOULD BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST

Father Francis's picture
Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 18:16-33 & Mt.8:18-22

God is fair and just. He would not punish people who do not deserve it. In the first reading He tells Abraham what he thinks of the practice of homosexuality. Abraham is all for saving the town where homosexuality is practised. He tells Abraham He is going to destroy the town of Sodom for their immoral behaviour. Abraham pleads with God to save that town for the sake of fifty just men who must be living there. Fifty just men are not to be found. He whittles the number down to ten just men. But that number is not to be found. In tomorrow's Gospel we witness how the town was destroyed by brimstone and fire.

In the Gospel Jesus encounters two would be followers. Following Jesus carries with it certain urgency. Following and serving the Lord is not something to be delayed or postponed or put it aside for the meantime. It is something that we have to do now!

It costs to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus makes sure that any of His “would-be” followers know what they are getting themselves into. He warns them of two things: First, think what you are doing and count the cost. In other words, we must be willing to make sacrifices, even the sacrifice of our own life to follow Jesus as our Master and Lord. He warns the first would-be follower that He Himself has nowhere to lay is head. Is he willing to do that? For Jesus, it was love that compelled Him to live the way He did and lay down His life for us. The love of Christ should compel us also to give all for the Lord. What keeps us from giving our all to God? Is it fear, self-concern, pre-occupation and attachment to other things?

Second, we have to detach ourselves from anything that hinders us in following Him. Detachment is a necessary step as we want to make the Lord our Treasure and Joy. It frees us to give ourselves without reserve to the Lord and to His service. Jesus is clearly stating that He is more important than our family ties which are usually the strongest human relationships we have. He is challenging us to see if there is something holding us back. One would-be follower wanted to follow Him, but only after his father had died and he could bury him. Jesus was saying to him, “No, come now! Other members of your family can do this. Postponement with you will become a habit. For after your father’s death you will find another reason for delay and another and another."

Lord Jesus may we recognise clearly the urgency of the opportunities You give us to respond to Your gracious invitation to follow You fully in the building of the Kingdom of God.

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