One day, after Sunday Mass, a young boy (from a simple and devout family) approached his father and asked: “Papa, what does it mean to follow the Lord?” Hearing the question of the son, the father smiled and with humility, he said: “Son, I do not know much. Papa does not have studies but… The father paused for a while and continued, “But, what I know is, God needs to be your number 1. He must be your top priority, and no other. And if you are really serious and would like to follow Him closely you need to let go of everything you have.” “Everything I have?” the boy asked his father, very surprised. And the father replied softly: “Yes son, all that you have.” And the boy said: “Papa is it demanding, right?” And the father answered: “It is son!”

Today’s Gospel, is reminding us to have an undivided heart, a heart wholeheartedly for the Lord. As St. John of the Cross said in one of the precautions: “The first is, preserve an equal love and an equal forgetfulness of all persons whether relatives or not; withdraw your affections from the former as well as from the latter, yea rather more from the former, on account of the ties of blood, for the natural affections which people feel for their kindred always subsists. You must mortify this affection if you are to attain spiritual perfection. Look upon your kindred as strangers, and you will thereby more completely discharge your duty to them; for by not withdrawing your heart from God on their account, you will fulfill your duties towards them better by not giving to them those affections which are due unto God.” We are called to have a heart detach and be free, so we can commit and follow the Lord. It is a call to a radical abandonment to be God’s disciple. In the Gospel of Mark 8:34-35 said: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Self-denial, to renounce possessions, and to carry one’s cross are part and parcel of following the Lord. Without it, we cannot fully be His disciples. As St. John of the Cross said in one of his letters “Do not seek Christ without the cross.” The greatest expression of the love of Christ is his obedience to the Will of God the Father; the giving of oneself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation. This is the God we are following and all of us are called to be. This Sunday, we ask the Lord to transform us, so we can be more like Him, and help us renounce all what we have that hinders our way to follow Him closely. And we beg Him to give us the grace to carry our crosses with fidelity, giving witness to our faith.

Francisco Palau Community