Tuesday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time              

            “We have given up everything and followed you.”

            I’d like to go directly to the point and pose a question: What have we left behind to follow Jesus? Yesterday, with the gospel story of the rich young man, we were challenged to examine ourselves and ask: Are we possessed and dominated by things? Where have we invested our lives and given our hearts? What do we need to let go for us to be able to follow Jesus more closely and more faithfully?

            If we want to be true disciples of Jesus, then, we must do the same thing that the disciples did: We must leave everything to follow Jesus. Our Christian commitment only comes alive when we, like the disciples, are willing to start leaving things behind in order follow Jesus. When we are ready to put things such as money, possession, status, security, power, prestige, popularity, and vainglory in the second, third, or fourth place, then we can begin to put the values of the kingdom of God first and foremost. Things such as sharing and service, justice and fairness, truth and goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation, peace and love, become our first and highest priority.

            Jesus tells his followers, “There is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more…” He assures those who have given up everything for his sake and for the sake of the Gospel a hundredfold reward. The term “a hundred times” or “a hundredfold” means a rich harvest, “the fullness of God’s blessings.” God will bless us in this world. Yes! But he does not call us to earn material rewards. God calls us to share or participate in his very life. And this is the fullness of blessings that we are talking about.

            A hundredfold reward! I firmly believe the Lord makes the same promise to all who commit themselves to be mission partners of our parish… to all who practice or live out the spirituality of stewardship… to all who make themselves available in serving our community. A hundredfold reward! This is the Lord’s promise to all who have given up so much to minister to others. A hundredfold reward! This is the Lord’s promise to all who have made themselves available to serve. May we realize that true human fulfillment is in giving up everything for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel.

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