13th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Most of us will not have said to Jesus explicitly: ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Nonetheless, we gave that commitment on several occasions. One such time was the commitment made on behalf of each one of us by our parents and god-parents when we were baptized. Similarly, we ourselves renewed that commitment when we celebrated the sacrament of confirmation. Those of us who are married committed ourselves completely to the person and teaching of Jesus again when we committed ourselves to our spouses ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives’.
The commitment we make at baptism, confirmation and marriage — which, if we are faithful, is total and life-long — parallels the irrevocable commitment that God has made to us, especially in sending his Son into the world. Jesus’ commitment to us was so complete that he suffered and died on the cross to save us from the consequences of our sins. Regrettably, we break our commitment to Jesus every time we sin. At the heart of Christ’s teaching is the invitation to make a commitment to him. ‘Follow me’ (Luke 5:27):
Jesus says this to us every day of our lives. Do we follow Christ at all times, even when colleagues and friends confront us with ideas and lifestyles that contradict his teaching? Furthermore, do we follow Christ in our daily relationships by challenging the cultural changes that have become accepted in our society despite the fact that they flout his great commandments to love God and to love our neighbour? Our baptismal commitment requires us to renounce the Devil and his temptations.
When Jesus goes to Jerusalem, this means, first of all, that he is resolutely going to face his executioners, those who will put him to death and make sure that, in accordance with the divine plan, the Saviour of men is taken away from this world: “When the days drew near for him to be received up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.” But, for Jesus, going to Jerusalem is, above all, the fulfilment of his mission as the one who brings peace to souls, beginning with his own. For, once he is dead, Jesus enters, with his soul, into heaven in order to eternally enjoy true peace, the Peace of God which passes all understanding! For Jerusalem means “Vision of Peace”! Jesus is the great peacemaker par excellence: he came into the world to bring peace, but his own Peace! The Peace of the Lord is that which establishes the soul in a perfect harmony with the body, a body that is entirely dominated by the spirit and that obeys it in all things. This is the Peace of God. It is not the peace of men, the peace of the world, which is never anything other than a relative equilibrium between the intention of not attacking others, provided that they do not attack us, and the intention of not doing too much good to others, for to do otherwise could be taken by others as a sign of our weakness and could be seen as an opportunity to attack us. The Peace of God is not like that of men and the world: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” (Jn. 14:27)
Jesus stayed faithful to his being raised on the cross. He remains faithful to us with our turning toward our own personal little kingdoms and all that they mean good and bad. Our faithfulness is not supposed to be totally to our own commitments, but to his faithful commitment to being our Saviour. He saves us from ourselves, our attempts at perfection which we will never achieve in our world. How can we live with ourselves who so constantly are inconstant?
With Paul we moan that we do not do all the good we want to do which is the nature of our lives, and those things we would rather not do, well, we easily do them and sometimes the hard things we should be doing are not easily done.. Our baptismal promises centre around Jesus being our personal and universal Saviour. We live with ourselves, because he lives in us and we are supposed to live in him. To be a follower of Christ, we must be prepared to travel light. Our possessions may distract us from keeping Christ as the center of our being. We may also be distracted by too many interests, too many commitments, too much food, or too much play. When we decide to follow Christ, we will leave some things behind. With faith let us continue our faith journeys as we follow Christ in our daily lives knowing that the peace of Christ is with us as in this year of faith