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This is serious!

13th Sunday ordinary time

Here are some ways people show their faith:

Rudy is catholic but is one of the millions of catholics who rarely go to church.

Zeny goes to church but leaves immediately after Communion. She doesn’t finish the Mass and is not interested to hear the announcements of what’s going on in the parish. And of course, when it rains… forget about the Mass!

Monching knows he was baptized as a child but he doesn’t remember ever receiving confirmation or first communion. Nor is he interested in finding out.

Faith for many Catholics today, can be best described by the term “Catholic lite” – just like Coke light, watered down version, eroded, assigned the back seat, chosen for comfort.

The gospel shows us how demanding Jesus is. Just the other day I was tackling this gospel in my seminary class – how differently Jesus summoned disciples. Unlike other rabbis, Jesus set strict conditions: total response, radical yes, a courageous assent to an adventure to which he alone will lead his disciples.

He did not call people to comfort. He called them to carry the cross. He called them to be attached first and foremost to himself. In today’s gospel , we see how honest Jesus was to prospective followers – no you cannot go say goodbye, no you cannot bury your father, no you cannot…

And that’s precisely the point! Jesus was demanding because he knew the human heart. When it comes to committing ourselves to God, we have a reluctant heart, a hesitant heart, a heart that bargains and asks for postponements. An exegete says that the meaning of “let me bury my father” is not merely attending a funeral, it means “waiting until my father dies”. That means: I will follow Jesus, but LATER. I will follow Jesus, on my own terms.

Jesus is not calling you to follow him LATER. He is not asking you to love and serve him tomorrow. He is issuing the call TODAY. He loves you today. He also calls you to be his disciple right now.

He wants you to come and worship today… and every Sunday.

He wants you to be involved and to take part in your faith community today.

And since he blesses you today with life, health, talents and time, then he wants you to use them for his kingdom today.

Following Jesus is serious! It is not “catholic lite”, but committed life.