[Homily, ADDU Assumption Chapel, July 1, 2019]
Those of you who were at Sunday Mass yesterday, may probably be saying, “I heard that yesterday!” Yesterday, the reading from Luke related how someone from the crowd shouted out, “I will follow you.” Today it is Matthew relating the same of a scribe: “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go!” (Mt. 8:19). Both Luke and Matthew record the same response of Jesus, “Foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Mt. 8:20). It is as if Jesus were saying: “Are you sure you want to follow me wherever I go? In doing what I do, I have no house, I have no home, I have no where to rest my head.” To the young man who said, “I will follow you. But let me go first and bury my father”, Jesus says, “Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead” (Mt. 8:221-22).
I wonder if Jesus were to run one of our vocation seminars, how much resonance he would get. The seminar would not be about joining the Society of Jesus, nor about joining the Religious of the Virgin Mary. It would not be about joining a seminary, nor about entering a convent. The vocation seminar would be open to all people, young and old, male, female or LGBT, married or non married. It would simply be about following Jesus, who introduces himself to us by saying:
“I have come to bring life, life to the full.” (Jn 10:10)
I am the Good Shepherd. I give my life for my sheep. (Jn 10:11)
I am the way, the truth and the life. (Jn 14:6)
First, the Kingdom of God (Mt, 6:33). Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.
To the paralytic at Bethesda, Jesus said, “Arise, take up your bed, and walk” (Jn 5:8)
“I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6: 35). Take me. Eat me.
The Father and I are One. (Jn 10:30). He I am
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a slave, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by being obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:6-8)
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and give him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11)
“It is good for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. (Jn 16: 7). When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things so ever he shall hear. He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine and declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are mine: therefore I said that he takes of mine and shall declare it unto you” (Jn 16: 13-15). …
“You shall weep and lament, but your sorrow will be turned into joy (Jn 16:20). … for now you will be sorrowful; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you (Jn 16:22)
The Spirit calls us together. Even at this Mass .. . As we take bread and wine… in memory of him. (Lk 22:19)
I come to bring you the fullness of life, and this is what I teach:
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit…
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter all manner of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great..
“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.
“I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it…
“If you bring your gift to the altar and recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled first with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
“If they strike you, turn the other cheek
“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
“When you pray, pray in secret. Do not babble. Pray, “Our Father…hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…
“You cannot serve God and money.
“Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (cf Mt. 5-7).
“Whatever you have done for one of these the least of my sisters and brothers, that you have done to me” (Mt. 25: 40).
Back to our vocation seminar:
Jesus invites, “Come, follow me.”
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
But Jesus says: “Foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
To the young man who said, “I will follow you. But let me go first and bury my father,” Jesus says, “Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.”
Peter: “Lord, why can’t we follow you. I would lay down my life for you…” (Jn 13:37)
Jesus said to Peter: “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
In our world… of the Philippines, of Mindanao, Jesus gives us our vocation: “Come, follow me.”