No Turning Back
Malvern Minute

 

October 4, 2017 – Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Francis of Assisi

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (9:57-62)

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.”

 

Reflect: No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God. If we give Jesus a genuine commitment to be his disciple, there is no need to look back. No matter what we might face, Jesus is with us in the middle of every situation. In a gospel passage that might seem a bit harsh, Jesus is challenging his listeners to trust that the life of a disciple, not matter how difficult it might be, is the better way. It is the way that leads to the fullness of life. What falls short are the promises of this world that can send us desperately running after one thing or another with the false hope of fulfillment. Seeking and proclaiming the Kingdom of God is what leads to truth, peace and joy.  Saint Francis of Assisi, whose feast we celebrate today, embraced the promise of Jesus together with his cross. He came to believe that all of his high quests in life paled in comparison to knowing and living in the love and mercy of Jesus. He stripped himself of possessions and rights of inheritance to demonstrate that God alone was his Father, and that God’s Kingdom was Francis’ only goal. For him, there was no turning back.

Questions: Do I seek the Kingdom of God and life in Jesus as my primary goal? What distracts me from entrusting all that I am into the hands of God? How might Jesus be inviting me go let go of this world and to set all of my strength and energies on him and his ways?

Pray: Loving God, through the example of Saint Francis, help me to be thoroughly transformed by your love and mercy and conformed to seek your Kingdom above anything else.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Francis of Assisi: Pray for us!

Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. In 1208, he heard the Gospel call to take “no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick” (Mt 10:10). He immediately answered that call and began to preach the Kingdom of God in the streets of Assisi. Many young men, inspired by his fervor, began to follow his example. A young woman, Clare, also came to him. Together with Francis, she founded the contemplative Poor Clares. At the end of his life, Francis received the sacred stigmata as a sign of his intimate union with Christ. Today, more than 30,000 men follow the way of Francis among the three branches of the First Order of Francis. His example inspired a movement of radical faith within the Church. Francis died on October 3, 1226 and was canonized only two years after his death. He is the patron of ecologists and of Italy.

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ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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