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JUNE 28, 2021

Memorial of St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr

Gn 18: 16-33,

Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11,

Mt 8: 18-22


Have you noticed that the word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT?

In our gospel, Jesus was incessantly followed by the crowds that he decided to cross to the other side of the lake to stay away from them. He evaded them but because He needed to keep SILENT and LISTEN to God’s will.

In our lives, we also need to keep ourselves away from our preoccupations sometimes. We need to distance ourselves from the demands of work. We need to stay away from the usual order of our day. We need to keep SILENT and LISTEN to God’s will as Jesus did. For it is in listening to God in the silence of our hearts that we will get recharged, refreshed, rejuvenated and most importantly reconnected to God’s will in our lives.

Jesus in today’s gospel reading, is inviting us to be His disciples, to follow Him. What an awesome privilege and an awesome responsibility too. It is because to follow Him carries with it certain urgency; to follow Him is not an easy task in the sense that we generously hand over our own will to Him unconditionally. Following and serving the Lord is not something to be delayed or postponed or put aside for the meantime.

It is something that we have to do now. For example, being faithful to the Ten Commandments is not something that we put off until the future. We have to obey them now.

It costs to be a disciple of Jesus. We see that following Jesus is not defined by seeking our comfort zone. There is no comfort zone at all, as we understand it. Comfort zone is a space where our activities and behaviors fit a routine pattern that has minimal stress and risk. We prefer to stay there because we are secure. People who are not willing to experience optimal anxiety or creative tension will surely stifle their own growth. The greatest obstacle to following Jesus is our propensity to protect our comfort zone. Following Jesus therefore means, seeking His Kingdom instead of our own comfort.

The ideal motivation for following Jesus in a total and unwavering way is very simple. We follow Him because He is the Son of God and the Savior of the World. He came to call us to Himself and has invited us to live in union with Him through faith. So ideally, we will follow Jesus simply because it is the right thing to do. We will not do so because of the so called benefits. Love, in its purest form, does not love the other because of what we get out of it. Pure love is a gift given to another because they are worthy of our love. And with Jesus, He is worthy of our love and worship simply because of Who He is.

It’s actually hard to follow or serve Jesus hence, we have to do many sacrifices from this world.

But nothing to worry about because what we lose from this world for following Jesus is nothing compared to the blessings that Jesus will give us. Today let us reflect upon Jesus inviting us to follow Him into poverty, detachment from all, simplicity of life and ultimately the sacrifice of our entire life.

May God help us to recognize clearly the urgency of the opportunities the Lord gives us to respond to His gracious invitation to follow Him fully, by going an extra mile in our spiritual life and leaving our comfort zones so as to be able to build up the Kingdom of God.

“It is not you that shapes God, it is God who shapes you. If then you are the work of God, await the hand of the artist who does all things in due season. Offer him your heart, soft and tractable, and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers. The hunger for renewal and redirection continues.” ~ St. Irenaeus


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