Daily Homily for August 11, 2017: Am I ready to Follow Jesus? By Fr. Abu
In our Gospel passage this morning, Jesus asks a fundamental question: “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” The life I live right now is not my true life. My true life is the life I would live in heaven.
No matter how much or how little I get on earth, so long as I miss heaven, I am indeed a real loser.
As the saying goes: “You cannot eat your cake and have it.” Time and time again, I am always going to be faced with choices; either to disobey God’s commandments and gain some material benefit or obey and let go of something on earth.
My choices determine whether I would gain life or not.
In our first reading today, Moses says: “You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”
The people of Israel had to keep God’s commandment in other to enter the Promised Land – Canaan, but for us today, we know that the land that awaits us is Heaven.
Heaven is where we shall have true life. In fact, compared to this earth, it is like we are simply dreaming right now. How beautiful it would be one day to awake from this dream and behold our eternal home in heaven.
Just like in a dream, we do not get attached to the pictures and images we see, Jesus is telling us not to become attached to earthly things. No wonder he says: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
The question is: Do I prefer this world and all its glory to my real life in heaven? Am I really ready to deny myself, let go of what this world has to offer and follow Jesus?
The life of St. Claire whom we celebrate today is a shining example of one who let go of earthly things completely in other to follow Jesus. As a young girl, Clare dedicated herself to prayer. On Palm Sunday in 1212, Clare left her father’s home and went to the chapel of the Porziuncula to meet with St. Francis. While there, Clare’s hair was cut off and she was given a plain robe and veil in exchange for her rich gown.
Clare joined the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo, under Francis’ orders. When her father found her and attempted to force her back into his home, she refused and professed that she would have no other husband than Jesus Christ.
Overtime, other women joined them, wanting to also be brides of Jesus and live with no money. They became known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano.” They all lived a simple life of austerity, seclusion from the world, and poverty, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order.
St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Their lives consisted of manual labor and prayer. Yet, they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time.
In 1224, an army of rough soldiers from Frederick II came to attack Assisi. Although very sick, Clare went out to meet them with the Blessed Sacrament on her hands. She had the Blessed Sacrament placed at the wall where the enemies could see it. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters. “O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now,” she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: “I will keep them always in My care.” In that moment, a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could without harming anyone in Assisi.
St. Clare became sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she expressed that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: “They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?”
Clare died at 59-years-old. Her remains were placed in the chapel of San Giorgio while the church dedicated to her remains was being built. At Pope Innocent’s request, the canonization process for Clare began immediately, and two years later in 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare as Saint Clare of Assisi.
St. Clare is designated as the patron saint of television in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, because when St. Clare was very ill, she could not attend mass and was reportedly able to see and hear it on the wall in her room.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may my earthly pursuits not prevent me from attaining true life in heaven. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 4:32-40 and Matthew 16:24-38).