Saturday, June 07, 2014

You Follow Me

“But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.  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 28:19-20

“What concern is it of yours?  You follow me.”  John 21:22bc

Father, free us from the concerns of life.  Make us as carefree as the birds in the air and the lilies in the valley.  Help us to walk away from what preoccupies us and overcome all obstacles in the way of following you.  Send us your Pentecost that we can be on fire with desire to spread your Good News.

Paul is chained up by the Romans.  However, those external chains may hinder his physical movement around the city but they do not hinder his journey toward Jesus and toward spreading the Good News even if he can only do that from his confined quarters.  He follow Jesus despite the physical obstacles.
Peter, however, while free remains chained by his own emotions and disposition.  Maybe there remains a hint of jealousy toward John.  Could there be a “You-love-him-more-than-me” sibling-type rivalry?  Beyond that, Peter may have walked away from his boats and his nets, but he cannot walk away from his inner nature.  Neither can we.  “You follow me.”
Yet THAT is exactly what Jesus has been asking ever since he walked under the waters of Baptism by his cousin.  Repent.  “You follow me.”

What concerns do we have?  Leave those aside.  Wash those away in baptism.  Reject those in reconciliation.  Follow me to the altar.  Accept Jesus in Eucharist.  Accept a new journey in matrimony or holy orders.  Follow Jesus through thick and thin, through illness and healing.  Follow Jesus to the cross.  “You follow me to the cross and beyond.” 

What chains are we wearing?  Some are chains which have been thrust upon us externally.  Others are chains that we have donned all on our own.  Throw off those chains to freely follow Jesus. 

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