May God grant us that determination to embrace him, to embrace the faith, and move along with him ,like good disciples

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Fr. Anthony Le

We just don't know their names. We just don't know whether they responded to Jesus. They ask, and we ask, that we are not so sure, if none of them or all of them follows Jesus. I'm talking about those three people in the gospel today. The first one boldly says 'I’ll follow you, wherever you go". The second one was challenged by Jesus: "follow me". The last one also: "i'm going to follow you" but I got to say farewell to my family with a condition. my brothers and sisters, even those we do not know their responses, whether they committed to follow Jesus or not, we know for sure the expectations of our Lord for those who follow him. We know for sure what Jesus actually speaks of discipleship.

Notice what happens in the first conversation between Jesus and those disciples James and John. Our Lord Jesus resolutely determined to Jerusalem, knowing full well he going to be accused, arrested, crucified, and died. he understood his death fast approaching, and yet he determined to go to proclaim the kingdom of God at the heart of the enemy, at the heart of human sin. he sent his disciples so that they could prepare his reception in Samaritan town. What did he expect? Really, what did our Lord expect when in the same town they already have a mortal hatred against the Jews. James and John did not find success in this town. and yet one thing they misunderstood what our Lord instructed them - you need to go to proclaim and prepare the people, but you are not supposed to hang on and cling on your personal emotions.

Lord, they rejected us, should we call fire from heaven and burn them down. It's amazing isn't it? Our Lord said: "let's move to the next town". The message is this: that the mission of the church is far more important than little petty emotions that we might have. When our people rejected us, the same goes with all the missionaries. I have to be humble many times, when I dare to proclaim the message of life. We as the church, stand against abortion because at the end of that it's always an innocent life lost, a long-term regret. I am not afraid to proclaim the sanctity of human person, the dignity of marriage between a man and a woman, I'm not afraid to proclaim our Lord as the ultimate master that we are to serve and love and follow. and no other, not a politician, not even my family members, or my fathers, or my mother, it's our Lord where I follow and commit my life. And yet many times I took personally those who objected and protested against. I thought my feelings were important; actually the mission is more important than that. That's why our Lord Jesus reminded James and John - Let's move along, let's continue to proclaim Christ, let's continue to make my message of good news known to all the people. And that is the expectation of those who follow Jesus. Take the message seriously to the point that the mission is more important than who we are.

We are here to further the mission of Christ, and we believe it's a beautiful mission. Now, our Lord Jesus also lay out very clearly and succinctly for those potential disciples. First, the reality of being a disciple of Jesus is instability, poverty, persecution. Foxes and birds of the sky, they have a place to rest. But those who follow Jesus experience instability, poverty, no place to rest his head. Would you follow a man like that? Would you follow the mission? Would you commit your life to the mission knowing full well there's going to be happening, and to the one that said “Follow me”. Although Jesus asked him: "follow me", but no, I cannot go home and bury my father he just recently passed. Our Lord reminded him to let the dead bury the dead. He meant to say if you're concerned so much about your life, and the things that you have to do, the concerns of daily life. if that is more important than me, than the mission, than the good news, then, my sons my daughters, you have already fixated on something that is not really life-giving. You already set priority that I am second priority, and everything else in your life, first. And that's why our Lord said: "First proclaim the kingdom of God and everything else will be taken care of".

For my case, when I discerned my priestly vocation, I was afraid of what would happen to my family. What would happen to my mom and dad? How could I support them when they're getting older? I'm the youngest in the family, and I am supposed to be with them. All of that running through my mind, perhaps many of you as well, when you make that kind of commitment. When you commit to married life, to your workplace, and how about God? In the last few weeks, we experienced a few very big events here in our community. I am so inspired by the level of commitment that you have. Many of you, here in the pews have shown to the people, here in the church or elsewhere, you work tirelessly, you set priorities to the church mission, and you have contributed in known or unknown ways. Many hours, prayers, for that we thank you.

That kind of commitment, that level of real determination, my dear brothers and sisters, Move Mountains, move the community; move the world to a better place. And finally when our Lord asked the last man, the one who approached him and said, “Lord, I will follow you but yet let me go home first to say goodbye to my family”. At this point, at this time, our Lord says "if you put your hands on the plow and then you look back, you are not fit for the kingdom of God". What is he saying, and this is the expectation of those who follow Jesus, if you only call me Lord and savior, and at the same time you look elsewhere, if you are asking me to bless you, to save you, and I have done so repeatedly, and you still cling on politicians ideas of life and death. If you still continue to cling on your own personal perception of what it means to be the truth then you are not following me. You say one thing but you do another. My brothers and sisters, that is practically called idol worship. Whether things of life, someone that we admire, or anything that we feel important, and if they are more important than God, than the teaching of our lord, then we effectively turn around and turn away from him.

So we ask today, our Lord is once again calling you and I to recommit just like he committed to Jerusalem. Why did he do that? Because you and I, he wants to commit himself to you and to me, and to all humanity. That he wants to save lives, he wants to be with us, he wants to introduce you to our heavenly life and that is his commitment. And I was asking for our commitment. If there's a marriage between heaven and earth, between God and humanity, now is the time to make that call. Human freedom allows us to make that call. Remember once again what Saint Paul said: "freedom to love and to build, not to destroy, not to scatter, not to divide". Let's use our freedom to discern whether God has the ultimate place in our life, or anything else. May God grant us that determination to embrace him, to embrace the faith, and move along with him ,like good disciples.



今天的福音說到主耶穌知道自己的死期已近。祂將要被控告、逮捕、釘死在十字架上。但祂還是毅然地走向耶路撒冷,決心近入敵人中間,在人類罪惡的中心來宣揚天主的福音。當祂路過撒瑪利亞時,祂派遣門徒到小鎮上去準備住所。在這對猶太人懷有仇恨的地方,雅各伯和若望找不到一個願意接待主的人。他們便想懲罰撒瑪利亜人,說「主,祢願意我們叫火自天降下,焚毀他們嗎?」 。卻換得了主的斥責。他們遂又到別的村莊去了。在這裡,主教導我們一件重要的事:當我們宣揚福音時,不可為情緒操控,因為傳教的使命比我們個人的情緒更重要。主對所有傳福音者的教訓是:當傳福音受到拒絕時,我們必需要非常謙卑的繼續傳揚下去。


我們來是為了傳福音。主耶穌為傳道者的生命做了清楚而簡單的描述。首先,他們必須接受不穩定、貧窮、和受迫害的生活。在今天的福音中,祂對第一個人說“地上的狐狸和天上的飛鳥都有休息的地方。但耶穌的門徒卻沒有安身立命的地方”。你願意追求這樣的人生嗎?你會跟隨耶穌去傳福音嗎?願意為了福音獻出你的生命嗎?在瞭解跟隨耶穌必須付出的代價後,還願意將自己獻給那位說“跟隨我” 的人嗎?耶穌對第二個人說:「你跟隨我罷!」那人卻說:「主,請許我先去埋葬我的父親」。主耶穌提醒他說 “任憑死人去埋葬自己的死人罷!”。主的意思是:如果你日常生活的事務和擔憂比傳福音的使命更為重要,那麼,你已經執著於別的事務,而將我放在第二位。這就是為什麼主教導我們“你們先該尋求天主的國和它的義德,這一切自會加給你們”。




讓我們今天向主重新許願,就像主對耶路撒冷許願一樣。為什麼主要許願?因為主要把自己獻給全人類。祂要拯救我們,和我們天天在一起,帶我們進入永生。這是祂許的諾言。我們也應該許個相稱的願。就像天與地,天主與人類結合,我們也必須依自己的自由意志來許個諾言。聖保祿説:“自由的愛是有建設性,它不破壞,不分散,也不分裂”。我們要問自己”天主是否是我生命中的最愛?還是我有其他更重要的牽念?” 願天主賜予我們決心來擁抱祂,擁抱這個信仰,成為祂的好門徒,與祂同行。