What It Means to Follow Jesus

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

The first disciples left everything and followed Jesus on his mission but in our gospel today, we see Jesus enter the house of Peter and Andrew. Leaving everything for Jesus did not mean that they should no longer care for relatives and friends. Jesus entrusted Mary to John when he was dying on the cross, “Woman, here is your son, Son here is your mother…” He worked his first miracle for her at the wedding in Cana and he remained a devoted son to the end of his life. His love for her was part of the coming of his kingdom. There was no need for him to choose between love for her or love for the Father since she accepted to be the handmaid of the Lord.
Leaving our family to get married or to serve God does not mean to write off the people whom we have loved for many years. Very often it is their love which prepared us for our successful marriage or mission. We leave them yet remain intimately linked to them. In every choice we make, we leave many things to do well on what we have chosen. A man who has promised to marry his girlfriend has made a choice not to date other girls. This is part of his faithfulness to her. He has to reconsider his relationship with his parents, brothers and sisters for she will now carry most weight in his decision-making. In his love for her, there is still room for his relatives. Actually, his decision to make her his life-partner is partially based on her way of dealing with them. If he had discovered her lack of respect or concern for them, he might have wondered if he made the right choice. Following the Lord is not turning away from people but giving them the right place in the context of God’s kingdom.
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