A Life-Giving Response

30 June 2019. Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)

It is always a refreshing moment for me whenever we are having our live-in vocation discernment seminar, wherein we get the chance to meet the applicants who may soon be members of our seminary community. Their individual vocation stories are very amusing and they all point to God’s loving call. Every time I listen to their stories, I cannot help but recall my vocation story. Though it may not be as an extraordinary as compared to others, but to me, it is very special. Even now that I am in the seminary, there are still moments when I come to reflect about the events in my vocation story. It seems that every little detail is connected. It is like a jigsaw puzzle wherein when you are able to join as many pieces as you can, the vocation story seems to get clearer.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus challenging His would-be followers’ conditions and personal reasons in following Him. I remember the many detours I had in my vocation story before finally saying “yes” to the call of God. Just like the disciples in the Gospel, I had many personal reasons of prolonging my response before finally I entered the seminary. And these reasons caused me worries and anxieties. Today’s Gospel reminds me that to follow Jesus is to enter into a life-giving relationship. It is a life-giving response. In order to follow Jesus, we have to give up many things—personal comfort, relationships, and some outgrown values. These we have to give up in order to respond generously to the demands of true discipleship.

As a priest-in-process, I am invited to constantly revisit my daily actions, thoughts, and decision in following Jesus. To constantly ask myself, what keeps me looking back to what I already left behind? What hinders me in completely entrusting myself to God and responding generously to his call? These questions will continuously purify my intentions so that when the time comes, I can say honestly and earnestly to God, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

The Gospel Today

Luke 9: 51 – 62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they 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.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

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