Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Follow Me

May 30, 2009

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

“This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.” Acts 28:20

Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” John 21:22


Generous Father God, you have blessed us with countless talents. Teach us how to apply these skills so that in all things, God may be glorified. Jesus never stops inviting us to “Come follow me.” We want to follow him and be faithful to your call. Help us to see in ourselves what you see in us. Give us the prudence, justice, restraint and courage to follow wherever you may lead. Bless us with generous hearts, eager to serve your people and to spread your Word. Amen.


So…what are the first words we hear from Jesus in St. John’s Gospel?

After his baptism, two disciples were following Jesus and he turned to ask them, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38) To their response, Jesus immediately replied with the invitation to follow. “Come, and you will see.” (John 1:39) At that point, everything that lies before them is a mystery until we unlock all that lies within the Gospel.

Today, the readings offer to us the final words that St. John reports. “You follow me.” No longer is this an invitation to a curious stranger. Instead, it is the instruction repeated to a group of friends and specifically addressed to the leader Peter. “Follow me.”

Jesus doesn’t give Peter or us the option of only following him when the sun is shining. He clearly spells out that following him will require suffering. The reward we can anticipate for following Jesus is to be handed our cross. “You will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

Let’s face it. That is not the kind of slogan the world wants to put on the recruiting posters. However, it is real. It is sobering. No matter what happens to the “other guy” who is richer, happier, better looking and gets the best seats to all the games, we can not focus externally on the other. We must focus on how we – as individual Christian women and men – will follow Jesus. By emulating everything about Jesus life – the miracles and the messages, the parties and the passion, we can expect the same kind of reward Jesus got in this world. He grants that we will be reasonably happy in this world. Ah, but what lies ahead in the next?


How will you use the coming weeks of Ordinary Time to make an extra-ordinary commitment to follow Jesus no matter what the price, no matter what the cost?

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