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MEMORIAL ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, OCTOBER 4, 2023






Gospel


As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding

on their journey, someone said to him,

"I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus answered him,

"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

And to another he said, "Follow me."

But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."

But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead.

But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."

And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,

but first let me say farewell to my family at home."

Jesus answered him, "No one who sets a hand to the plow

and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."


REFLECTION

"I will follow you wherever you go."


In 1963 little Peggy March sang "I will follow him" at the young age of 14. It was then popularized by Petula Clark and then by a group of nuns in the movie Sister Act.


What does it mean to follow him? Well, when originally sung it was a young girl's thinking of true love, willing to follow her true love to the ends of the world because she is convinced he is her destiny. In fact quite a few of us were convinced that was our song as we proudly sang it along the corridors of my school.


In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we are to follow Him. And it is not with a catchy tune, a groupie outing, emotional outbursts or even a presumed thought out concept or reality. It is by our expressive love of what we are willing to do for God.


St Francis of Assisi is an excellent saintly example of what this means.


St Francis of Assisi was the son of a wealthy man. He had a carefree life and was called "King of Revels". He partied quite a bit and planned on living an exuberant lifestyle by being a knight and having all glories. Instead he was caught in battle, imprisoned and came home very disillusioned.


One day while riding his horse, he saw a leper coming toward him. He would have in the past made great efforts to avoid the leper, but instead he stopped and embraced him. He later went on to say that he had embraced none other than Jesus Christ that day.


Once while praying, St Francis heard Jesus saying from the cross, " Francis, repair my house, which is falling into ruin.” And just like that, he borrowed his father's goods and sold them for the physical repair of the church. With expected outrage, his father dragged St Francis in front of the Bishop and demanded all his money back. All borrowed was returned by St Francis along with all his own personal property, money and clothes. He returned everything to his father. He cared for others, lived an itinerant life of a preacher. He had profound faith, trust and love.


Joyfully he gave up everything, all material things. He cared for the poor and the sick. He was so in love with the Lord and was aware of all His beauty. He spent the night one time saying, "My Lord and my all", while marvelling and contemplating on the goodness of the Lord.


While praying at the top of a mountain, he received the five wounds of Jesus --the Stigmata. Suddenly he understood in a flash the unimaginable love of God, a love that holds nothing back from us—not even God’s only son. He had a profound appreciation for the overflowing love of God!


He is the founder of the Franciscan Order. He started the practice of setting up a crib in church to celebrate the Nativity.


He reemphasized to us what we are to expect if we choose to follow Jesus, the Christ: (1) We have no right to creature comforts.

(2) Family comes second to God.

(3) No looking back.


The song "I will follow him" now 60 years later has a very different meaning for me. Would you not agree?



"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." — St Francis of Assisi.




Please take time to listen to the following songs.

Sister Act-I will follow Him


All Creatures of Our God and King



God Bless You.



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