Word Alive by Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD June 30, 2019 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is a story in the book of Elizabeth Brenner, entitled Winning by Letting Go. Brenner explains how people in India catch monkeys—and catch them alive. They cut a small hole in a box. Then they put a tasty nut in the box. The hole is just large enough for the monkey to put its hand through. But it’s too small for the monkey to withdraw its hand once it has clutched the nut inside.
So the monkey has two choices. It can let go of the nut and go free, or it can hold on to the nut and stay trapped. Monkeys usually hold on to the nut. The monkey is a good image of us (not physically, of course, but spiritually), and the nut represents things, vices and people, which we cannot let go of our hold. Consequently, we are not free. We’re trapped.
The gospel message of this 13th Sunday is about the failure of the three men who offered to become disciples but could not let go of their attachments. The first man could not follow the Lord due to the ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY involved. Jesus said that discipleship or following him entailed material deprivation: “The foxes have holes…but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (cf. Lk 9,57 ff).
Material deprivation does not necessarily mean depriving ourselves of material resources but can mean sharing them with the less fortunate or sharing our time, say, to visit the sick and elderly. The second and third men turned their backs on Jesus’ call because of FAMILY OBLIGATIONS (“I will follow you, Lord, but let me first bury the dead;” “let me say goodbye to my family”).
Jesus rebukes the second, saying: “Let the dead bury their dead.” Jesus is calling attention to the tragedy of life of lost opportunities or resolutions that are put off. There’s a little story about a priest who used to recite these lines to his congregation: “Around the corner I have a friend in this great city that has no end. “Yet days go by, and weeks rushed on and before I know it, a year is gone.
“We are busy, tired man, tired with making a living or making a name. ‘Tomorrow,’ I say, ‘I’ll call Jim and pay him a visit.’ “But tomorrow comes, and tomorrow goes. And the distance between us grows and grows around the corner and yet miles away… Here’s a text message: “Jim died today!” “And that’s what we get, and deserve in the end…a vanished friend.’”
ASK YOURSELF: What are the things that hinder me from discipleship or following the Lord? Is it attachment to work so that you have no more time for God? Or enslavement to gambling, drinking, a bad temper, an illicit relationship, and drugs?
The answer will be different for each one of us. This is personal, between God and yourself. But the important thing is that we must have a PLAN in life, which does not seek only material success, personal pleasures but also spiritual. While there’s time left, let go of your tight hold of attachments so you will be free to follow the Lord.
THE LIGHTER SIDE. Reporter: Sir, do you watch CNN? Politician: Walang oras. R: Do you read books? P: Walang oras. R: Do you go to church? P: Walang oras. R: Do you drink at the beerhouse? P: WALONG oras!
A man applying as security guard was interviewed. “What I need is a person with a suspicious mind, high alert, strong body, good sense of hearing and with killer instinct. Do you think you are qualified? “I’m afraid not. But could I ask my wife to apply?”
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