The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Reflection (Sem. Danichi Hui)
Freedom has become one of the most sensitive issues of today’s generation. People associate equality and choices to freedom. It seems that some people feel that they are deprived of such by the prohibitions of the society and more so by the Church. It is a reality that gone are the days that when the Church speaks, everyone follows. That is why the clamor for freedom and equality has become a hot topic, especially in the arena of morality. For we act and decide according to our own preferences.
Some people do not understand that freedom cannot be taken away from us, for in fact, it is inherent in us. It is included in the life that God has given to us. What we are deprived of is the true meaning of it. Freedom is the ability to do what we ought to do. It is not the ability to do what we want to do. Due to the individualistic and utilitarian mentality, freedom is misinterpreted as licentiousness.
We give ourselves the license to do anything we want, even to the point of going beyond our original purpose as humans which is to be in communion with God. We treat ourselves as master and king. We forget that in our life, we are to serve and be with our God who is the real master and king.
This is what discipleship is all about and what the Gospel for today wants to emphasize. To be a disciple means “to walk” or “follow.” We can only be a disciple if there is someone we are following, and this cannot be ourselves. To be a disciple entails one to enter into a lifelong relationship.
We are invited by God to be His disciples and He made it easy for us to do so by sending His Son in this world to be our model. Jesus as man made freedom possible for all. For He did what a human must do, which is to follow the will of God. The perfection of freedom lies in Him, for in His humanity He was able to live a life worthy of God. Though He had His own preferences and will, He attuned them instead with those of God. He did not look at it as a deprivation of freedom but its extension because He was able to conquer everything that enslaves man. He surpassed all the comforts in life and offered it with love. He was boundless when it comes to self-giving, which no man could ever do if he is too self-possessed.
We are all free people, but at times we become slaves because of the many concerns we have in life. We impose a lot of things on ourselves which enslave us rather than make us free. True freedom can only be realized in Christ, for He conquered everything even death. Christ liberated Himself from the slavery of human weaknesses because He followed His Father, who is the source of all strength and the giver of our freedom.