Monthly Archives: June 2016

Jesus Calls Us to Himself by Fr. Joel

Unlike the rabbis of his time, who if anyone wants to become their disciple will have toCalled+To+Freedom+Title apply by himself to the rabbi for acceptance. Jesus on the other hand was the one who called his disciples to come follow him. He chose them by himself and not the other way round. ‘’ You did not choose me, no I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit that will last…’’( Jn 15:16).

Today in our readings we see a clear demonstration of this fact. Firstly, in the first reading, God asked Elijah to anoint Elisha a prophet to take his place, which he did. As soon as Elisha was given the cloak by Elijah, he gave out his yoke, oxen, and his profession of farming and followed Elijah to serve the Lord. He responded at once without any delay.

In the gospel a man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus did not want him and so he discouraged him by saying that he has no place to lay his head like the foxes and birds do. However, those Jesus wanted to follow him refused and gave all kinds of excuses not to follow him. One of them said that he wanted to go bury his father, but Jesus said to him to allow the dead to bury the dead. But, he should go proclaim the kingdom of God. The other person said he should be allow to go say farewell to his family first, but Jesus said to him: no one who sets his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

We have all been called to follow Jesus by virtue of our baptism. And we are expected to drop everything and follow him immediately like the prophet Elisha did, but not to give excuses like these other people did. The demand to follow Jesus has no room any excuses; it is a demand for total commitment in following him. There is no room for half followership of Jesus, rather complete followership of him. It is total submission to his will and obedience to his commandments. We must behave like his first disciples who left everything and followed (Lk 5:11). Let us take our various vocations very seriously and ensure that the kingdom of God is established everywhere we find ourselves: in our families, schools, work places, and society in general.

We did not choose him, but he chose us (Jn 15:16). Therefore, we have been chosen to be his disciples. There are no excuses in accepting to be his disciple, we are to respond completely and follow him with all that we have and allow him to use according to his will and plan for us. That is why he said anyone who wants to be his follower will have to renounce himself and take up his cross and follow him (Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23). You are not to do your will but his will because he chose you and not the other way around.

According to St. Paul in the second reading, to follow Jesus completely means that we have been given total freedom from slavery and sin. And never shall we go back to it again. We are to use this freedom wisely in doing charitable works for one another, but not to gratify the flesh or take advantage of each other. Let us live in the spirit of Christ who has called us to freedom and salvation, but not of the devil who seeks to enslave and destroy us. Living in the spirit of Christ and following him means pleasing our God and our neighbors. But following the devil leads us to sin and displeasing God and our neighbors.

Listen to the call of Jesus and respond by saying: speak, Lord, your servant is listening; you have the word of everlasting life (Lk 9:51-62). And when you listen and follow Jesus completely as his disciple you will be able to say boldly: ‘’you are my inheritance, o Lord.’’ You will be with him.