Monday of the 13th Week of the Year

Matt 8:18-22

The Would-be Followers of Jesus


Vocation is God’s gift! God initiates; God calls. We respond; we follow. But God does not force or coerce when He calls. He waits and loves while he waits. He leaves us free. And because we recognize in the One who calls One who loves, we cannot resist Him. There is a sense of urgency in His voice. He/she who hears, obeys and follows. No “buts,” no “ifs.”

Gad Hammarskjold put it so beautifully when he wrote: “….I don’t know who or what, put the question. I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But in some moment I did answer ‘yes’ to Someone or something and from the hour I was certain that existence was meaningful and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender had a goal.” (Sr. Carmelita, SSpS Bible Diary 2002)


Foreigners have always been fascinated at the multitude of people who attend mass here in the Philippines. Just think of Baclaran on a Wednesday, St. Jude Parish on a Thursday, The Black Nazarene in Quiapo on a Friday, not to mention fiestas and weddings. In the time of Jesus, people in great numbers also flocked and followed Him wherever he went.

The gospel for today is just one of the many examples. Some of them maybe true followers of Jesus, like the disciples; some were just eager to see him or to ask some favors like being cured of their sickness; some were curious to see this man and hear him speak while others just came to while away the time and see what kind of miracle he would be doing. There are four sets of crowds: the disciples, the petitioners, the curious and the carnival or “theater” goers.

In our churches we see the same four sets of crowds, the disciples who try their best to live the gospel values and strive to be Christ-like. Then we have the petitioners who constantly light candles before the image of a saint and are constantly writing letters in petition boxes. Those who come to church just because the priest is popular noted for his gift of gab or because the priest delivers short homilies constitute the curious group. The fourth group, the “carnival” or theater goers, are those who just happen to pass by or those who go to church to satisfy an obligation. It is obvious that we would want to be counted among the disciples: devout, principled and dyed-in-the-wool Christians.

It is not easy being a Christian. It entails a lot of sacrifices. We are now being challenged by the gospel to belong to the first set of people. It does not matter whether every pew in church be occupied with people or petition boxes be filled with intercessions. What Christ needs is a group of committed persons who would go with Him through thick and thin, through troubles and tribulations, to Calvary and to the Cross.

To what group do you belong? Are you a disciple, a petitioner, the curious or “carnival” goer? (Frt. Regino Antonio Penamora, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


When I had my interview with the Provincial Superior of the SSpS about my desire to join the Congregation the first question she asked was, “Can you obey?” I was wondering why she asked me particularly that question until one sister explained that some members of their community told the Provincial Superior that I was a leader (modesty aside) from grade school to college. Whenever I read today’s gospel text I am reminded of that interview.

The first person who sounded resolute in his decision, “Master, I will follow you wherever you go,” was a teacher of the Law, also called a Scribe. He must have been a well-off man enjoying a comfortable dwelling and all the securities in life. Instead of posing a question, Jesus bluntly responds that, “….the Son of man does not even have stone on which to lay his head.” Jesus must be telling him to discern first. The gospel does not tell whether he pursued his desire to embrace utter poverty without any promise of security. It is an open-ended episode.

The second person was already a disciple, perhaps one of the seventy-two. He requests a leave to stay behind for a very important family obligation. ‘Lord, let me go and bury my father first.” In the Old Testament times it was the responsibility of the sons to give a decent burial to their parents. But Jesus’ answer is emphatic and radical: “Come follow me and let the dead bury their own dead.”

While he allows the teacher of the Law to discern, He is firm on the disciple since the latter has already made a commitment to give his life for the service of the Kingdom. Jesus’ answer implies that the urgency of the work for the Kingdom takes precedence over family obligations. Elsewhere in the gospel Jesus says” “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” (Matt 10:37). (Sr. Angelita Roferos, SSpS, Bible Diary 2005)


Vocation is God’s gift! God initiates; God calls. We respond; we follow. But God does not force or coerce when he calls. He waits and loves while he waits. He leaves us free. And because we recognize in the One who calls and One who loves, we cannot resist him. There is a sense of urgency in his voice. He/She who hears, obeys and follows. No “buts” and no “ifs.”

Dag Hammarskjold put it so beautifully when he wrote: “…I don’t know who or what, put the question. I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer ‘yes’ to Someone or something and from that hour I was certain that existence was meaningful and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender had a goal.” (Sr. Carmelita, SSpS Bible Diary 2006)


Have you noticed that the word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT?

In our gospel, Jesus was incessantly followed by the crowds that he decided to cross to the other side of the lake to stay away from them. He evaded them but because He needed to keep SILENT and LISTEN to God’s will.

In our lives, we also need to keep ourselves away from our preoccupations sometimes. We need to distance ourselves from the demands of work. We need to stay away from the usual order of our day. We need to keep SILENT and LISTEN to God’s will as Jesus did. For it is in listening to God in the silence of our hearts that we will get recharged, refreshed and most importantly reconnected to God’s will in our lives. (Frt. Ross Hereuela, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


“Hi!” or “Hello!” are the usual expressions used in greeting or calling someone. In our gospel today, Jesus uses His usual expression when calling someone: “Follow me!” These words are used by Jesus whenever He invites someone to follow Him in the priestly or religious life. But if we reflect deeper, we will realize that Jesus is constantly calling all of us with these words.

Our gospel text is part of Chapter 8 where Jesus performed different miracles. Today’s gospel text appears out of context and therefore inserted because obviously it is not a miracle story. If ever the said text is considered as inserted by Matthew, it would nevertheless have a purpose. When Jesus said: “Follow me,” he was inviting His disciples to follow Him in performing miracles by responding to the needs of others just like what He did by touching the lives of those who came to Him. Jesus received an answer: “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” The person was trying to tell Jesus that he could not afford to extend any help to his fellowmen because he has an obligation to fulfill at home. He could only help others when his parents die, after they are buried. But Jesus was insistent by saying: “Let the dead bury their dead.”

In Jewish society, there are designated persons who are responsible in burying the dead and they are called “the buriers.” So when He said, ‘let the dead bury their dead,’ Jesus wants to remind us that each one of us has responsibilities to carry out within the society, within the community. And as Christians, we have the responsibility to respond to the needs of others in any way we can. For example, when we meet beggars with our own eyes is a clear indication that we heard Jesus calling us, encouraging us to perform a miracle by sharing with them any amount or anything that we have. Our positive response will definitely be considered as an answer to their prayers. That would be a miracle for them. “Follow me,” invites Jesus. Let us perform miracles by touching the lives of others. (Fr. Jingjong Rocha, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


When I was about to enter the seminary, I was set to resign from the company I was working. However, suddenly there was a dilemma. The company is offering a handsome financial package for people who would retire early from the company. When I was analyzing the situation, if I stay on a few more months, I would be qualified for the “early retirement” package. But if I do this, I would miss the entrance date of the seminary. I was asking myself, what would I do – resign later and get a hefty financial package and miss the seminary entrance or resign, now, enter the seminary but get nothing but a few thousand pesos from unused “sick leaves.” I said to myself, “I can’t take the risk of jeopardizing my vocation to the priesthood for a small sum of money.” And with that I felt some peace.

Jesus is telling us that we must feel a sense of urgency in following him. The reality however speaks of a sense of complacency. We feel very lethargic in carrying out his command of spreading the gospel to all nations. We are tempted to think that the world will not end yet; the fulfillment of the kingdom is not coming yet. Jesus Christ’s second coming won’t happen during our lifetime. This kind of mentality contributes to the fading significance of the church in the world.

Secularism seems to be the greatest enemy of Christianity nowadays. It because we have now become “people of the world,” swallowed up by its allurements instead of becoming “Christians in the world.” We fail to become leaven and to bring the reign of God in the world.

If we feel this urgency that Jesus is telling his disciple who wanted to follow him, that the dead must bury their dead and follow him, then the world would be a lot different. If all of the more than one billion Catholics would say that “I need to follow Jesus more closely and do it now,” then, we would be able to influence the world more than ever and draw it closer to Jesus.

The time of following Christ can’t be postponed (Fr. Elmer I. I barra SVD Bible Diary 2013).


June 27, 2016 Monday

One of our priests loves cats. He has several of them. Oftentimes I see these felines lying comfortably confident they will be fed soon. Like those cats, all creatures seek that condition we call homeostasis. It is natural for us to seek comfort; we look for equilibrium, or stasis. We detest indeterminate conditions or uncertainties. They make us very anxious! Whatever it is that makes us comfortable, consciously and unconsciously, we seek it. It could be material, emotional, physical comfort; we all seek our comfort zone!

In the readings for today, we see that following Jesus is not defined by seeking our comfort zone. There is no comfort zone at all, as we understand it. The greatest obstacle to following Jesus is our propensity to protect our comfort zone. Put it in another way, the cost of discipleship is starkly presented by Jesus: “nowhere to lay His head. . . follow me and let the dead bury their dead.” To have nowhere to lay one’s head is very uncomfortable. Our body needs rest to be reinvigorated. If we are not well rested we tend to be easily irritated, we function less. However, to follow Jesus does not mean to avoid relaxation. It does not mean either to work ourselves to death. Rather to follow Jesus is to give up that tendency to always seek what makes us comfortable. Following Jesus means seeking His Kingdom instead of our own comfort. (Fr. Melchor Bernal, SVD | CKMS, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)


My Reflection for Monday June 30, Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 8:18-22 Reflection: What will it cost us if we decide to follow Jesus? It will cost us everything that we love from this world. For example, if we decide to follow Jesus it simply means that we have to leave behind all of our vices. But are we willing to give-up our vices for Jesus?

It’s actually hard to follow or serve Jesus we have to do many sacrifices from this world. But nothing to worry about because what we lose from this world for following Jesus is nothing compared to the blessings that Jesus will give us.

For example, if we decide to follow Jesus the first blessing that we would receive from HIM is peace of mind. For the reason that we now trust in Jesus and not on this world anymore. What we have in this world such as power and riches will not give us peace of mind.  It will only disturb our peace and create multitude of worries for us.

We are always winners if we decide to faithfully follow Jesus and if we put aside others for Jesus. Let us observe the many beautiful things that he will do to our life. Be not afraid therefore of following Jesus for HE will make your life’s burden easy and light. We have everything if we have Jesus in our life.

Will you follow Jesus or you will just continue to follow this world?


Monday, June 27, 2016

Reflection for June 27, Monday; Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 8:18-22

Reflection: There’s an old adage that says: “To follow Christ is always right but it is not always easy.”

In the gospel passage a scribe approached Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, 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.”

In fact Jesus was telling the scribe who signified his intention to follow Him that it’s never easy to follow me. You have to think a hundred times before you decide to follow me.

Indeed, it’s not always a bed of roses when we decide to follow Jesus. Oftentimes Jesus will tell us that if you really want to follow me, you need to forget yourself and you need to be selfless. Amidst the hardship that we may encounter in following Him, we can also rest assure that Jesus will always be there for us to guide and inspire us.

Be not afraid therefore to follow Jesus no matter how hard it is. For the reason that every second that you invest in following Him will pay you great reward someday. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


MONDAY OF THE 13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) MATEO 8:18-22. Unsa may atong makuha sa pagsunod kang Cristo? Normal sa tawo ang maniguro. Maniguro ta nga makakaon og tarong, makatulog og maayo, makatrabaho nga adunay sweldo, ug nga makaginansya sa negosyo. Pero, ang pagsunod kang Cristo dili maghatag og sama niini nga kasigurohan. Pananglitan, sa pagpangalagad sa isigkatawo, wala kita maglantaw nga bayran o hataga’g sweldo. Sa pagsangyaw sa Maayong Balita, kita ang una nga madisturbo ug dili mahiluna. Sa pagsulti sa kamatuoran, daghang ang atong maligsan ug masakitan. Ug bisan gani sa pag-ampo, walay garantiya nga ihatag sa Ginoo ang atong gipangayo. Sa atong pagsunod kang Cristo, kini lang ang sigurado: Espirituhanong kalamboan karon ug kinabuhing walay katapusan human sa atong pagpuyo ning kalibotan. Posted by Abet Uy


Monday, June 27, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 13TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – PAMALANDONG Hunyo 27, 2016 MATEO 8:18-22. UNSA MAY ATONG MAKUHA SA PAGSUNOD KANG KRISTO? Normal sa tawo ang maniguro. Maniguro ta nga makakaon og tarong, makatulog og maayo, makatrabaho nga adunay suweldo, ug makaginansiya sa negosyo. Pero, ang pagsunod kang Kristo dili maghatag og samang kasiguroan. Pananglitan, sa pagpangalagad sa isigkatawo, wala kita maglantaw nga hatagag suweldo. Sa pagsangyaw sa Maayong Balita, kita ang una nga dili mahiluna. Ug bisan gani sa pag-ampo, walay garantiya nga ihatag sa Ginoo ang atong gipangayo. Sa pagsunod kang Kristo, kini ang ang sigurado: Espiritohanong kalamboan karon ug kinabuhing walay katapusan human sa atong pagpuyo ning kalibotan. Sakto si David Platt sa pag-ingon: “The cost of discipleship is high. But the cost of non-discipleship is higher.” Posted by Abet Uy


FOLLOW THE CONVOY: “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” – Matthew 8:19

When I drove my first vehicle in college, I had the ill-fated talent of driving from point A to B by first getting lost in point G, stopping for directions in point M before finally arriving at my destination. My sense of direction was so skewed! It was only when I started going on group road trips that I finally learned an amazing way of efficiently getting from A to B without ever having to visit the other letters of the alphabet.

The simplest way to not get lost is by going in a convoy. When you’re in a convoy, it’s simple: someone leads, you follow. All you need to do is to pinpoint who you’re following and try your best not to get separated.

But not all convoys work well. I’ve had my fair share of following people who I thought knew the way, but they ended up sidetracking us for hours. That’s why it’s important to know that the person you’re following knows the right directions.

Steven Furtick from Elevation Church once said, “The less you know the way, the more you need to stay close to the One who does.” Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” These are words from Someone who knows the way and is the Way. Audee Villaraza (

Reflection: We are like sheep that go astray but be glad that we have a Shepherd who has gone out of His way to be our Way.


1ST READING: Amos is detailing the many social injustices of Jewish society in probably the eighth or ninth century before Christ. The bottom line is that, similar to today’s situation, there is a great disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor, and the rich are ensuring that this remains the case. God is horrified and sends His prophets to speak out against injustices. We should listen very carefully to what God is saying through the prophets because these words apply as much today as they did in Amos’ time. Amos 2:6-10, 13-16

GOSPEL: Following Jesus is not as easy as it may first sound. We can all begin such a journey of life with a burst of enthusiasm but very soon the reality will settle in and we realize that this is not as easy as we first thought. Jesus knows this and makes it clear to those who want to become His disciples. At the beginning, He tells them that they are making a choice that will lead to suffering and difficulties. Matthew 8:18-22

think:  We should listen very carefully to what God is saying through the prophets.


I WILL FOLLOW HIM: Jesus has incredible power to attract the crowds. From the crowds, He designates the Twelve Apostles to be with Him; others will be called to discipleship; still others would follow from a distance, presumably.

I’d like to think of how I might identify myself as a member of the crowd. Would I be one of those intimately involved with His mission? Would I be one sent out like the 72 disciples? Would I be a casual onlooker? Would I be one in the crowd, following Jesus out of my neediness? How do you identify yourself in the crowd?

The Gospel points out two men from the crowd who seek to follow Jesus. They don’t want to be just onlookers. They seem more interested in following Him more closely, loving Him more dearly, and knowing Him more intimately. One person comes up to Jesus and desires to follow the Master wherever He goes. Jesus is quick to remind Him of the sense of urgency that one must have in order to follow Him. There is no guarantee of a roof over his head or shelter from the weather. One must be willing to go, wherever and whatever it costs. We do not know the man’s response.

The other desires to follow Jesus but has priorities that he needs to consider. Jesus also notices this commitment but challenges the man to follow Him and leave his family behind. One who follows Jesus must be released from the duties and customs of home and family, culture and tradition. One might see the reaction of Jesus as harsh, but we must remember the words of Jesus that “whoever follows Him must deny self, pick up the cross and imitate Him.”

How do we respond to the call of Jesus to follow Him? Can we see ourselves in those men’s shoes? Do we follow Jesus even if it means giving up our responsibilities at home? Do we follow Jesus even if there is no guarantee of how things will be provided? To follow Jesus is to trust in Him and His Father. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you follow Jesus?

Lord, I desire to follow You wherever You lead me. Amen.


NO BACKING OUT – “I will follow you wherever you go.” – Matthew 8:19

We were making final arrangements for a travel destination we wanted to visit but the hotels with good reviews were all fully booked.

So we took a risk and did a blind booking, which means we wouldn’t know exactly what hotel we’d get until we have paid for it. I was worried but I knew it would be a nice vacation no matter what. The satisfaction of going to our dream destination was far greater than some discomforts we might have to bear.

To decide to follow Christ entails full commitment and total surrender — no chance to think twice and back out. It means  putting Him first above all things and everybody else. It requires us not just to be with Him but to live for Him and follow His way of life.

People who do not believe in Jesus may ridicule us. We may need to sacrifice and suffer a lot. But that’s how Christ laid out the cost of following Him.

It’s daunting, isn’t it? But there is nothing more gratifying than to serve Christ who leads us to bliss eternal.Jane Gonzales-Rauch (

Pope Francis Says: “We cannot be part-time Christians! We should seek to live our faith at every moment of every day.”

Lord Jesus, I offer my life in total surrender for Your glory. Guide my footsteps that I may follow Yours. Amen.


A SERIOUS MATTER        – We are down to the last few days of June. Our Gospel passage for today invites us to take a good look at the cost of following our Lord Jesus in our everyday lives.

To put it simply, it’s no walk in the park. The two would-be disciples of Jesus in the Gospel reading had the noblest of aspirations, but that was not enough for Jesus. He was radically honest and blunt to lay down His own terms. Jesus is for no pushovers or patsies, or for those who dillydally.

In a way, we too can say that our Lord was insisting against a wrong attitude when it comes to following Him, which is that of enjoying privileges or expecting entitlements on the basis of being His follower. There are followers of Christ who think that just because they have made sacrifices, like giving up careers or loved ones, expect God to compensate for that. And so they get this false sense of entitlement and expect special privileges or perks on the mere basis of their following Jesus, forgetting that it actually entails sacrifices, perseverance and steadfastness.

If you will read carefully the circumstances of the Gospel incident, you might see some clues. It is stated that Jesus gave orders to the crowd around Him to cross to the other side of the lake. Perhaps those two who spoke to Jesus attempted to ingratiate themselves with Him, hoping that they can just journey alongside the Lord without the hardship of crossing the lake. Jesus burst their bubble and gave them a good reality check.

To follow the Lord Jesus is a serious matter. We just cannot make excuses from it or expect rewards for it. With or without perks and fringe benefits, we follow Him all the same, more than ever.Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: What do you expect out of personally following Jesus?

Humble me, O Lord, that I may see where I truly stand as I follow You. Amen.          



Monday, June 27

 Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Am2:6-10, 13-16; Mt 8: 18-22

Discipleship Demands Service

Jesus moves from the synagogue to a private house. There we find Peter’s mother in law lying in bed with fever. Jesus goes to the woman with compassion and takes her by the hand. It is an act contrary to practice. It also makes Jesus unclean. But Jesus breaks through social and religious conventions to reach out to the sick. He lifted her up. Immediately the fever left her.

In Jewish society the woman was not given due respect and freedom. Hence Jesus was actually lifting her up to the liberation. Going into a woman’s bedroom and taking her by the hand was forbidden to any man. In addition, to this, Jesus performed this act on the Sabbath. Thus, by touching a non related woman he had performed an offence in the eyes of his opponents. Touching one who is sick and therefore unclean only complicated the issue. Performing this act on the Sabbath compounded the social offense even more. The service of Peter’s mother in law to Jesus was the climax of the issue. The act of serving food could have constituted work on the Sabbath. Later Jewish traditions forbade woman to serve meals to male strangers.

When Jesus cures her illness, she gets up and serves. This shows the sudden and completeness of the cure. The woman’s action also teaches us that Jesus heals us in order that we may serve others. We show attitude by our actions. Mark wanted to make this woman a model of discipleship. This suggests that we too are meant to see Peter’s mother in law as giving the proper response of a disciple to Jesus, serving the Master as she was able.

Hudson Taylor says: “A Christian worker is good: a worker for Christ is better; but Christ in a worker, working out His will through him, is best of all.” When Christ dwells in our hearts we will serve others, fulfilling God’s will. “The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth.” (Wilfred Grenfell) Fr. Davis Panadan CMI


June 27, 2016

REFLECTION: When we think of courage, we usually imagine someone jumping into a raging torrent to save a drowning child or a firefighter racing into a burning house to save its inhabitants or a quadriplegic restoring the use of his or her limbs through persevering and grueling efforts or even a lion tamer facing a cage full of lions. But all these instances of courage illustrate especially one kind of courage: physical courage.

Yet, there is another kind of courage which we could call intellectual courage (the scientist who perseveres in his quest for the truth) or moral courage (the defender of truth, of beauty, of virtue).

The saint we remember today was a man of great intellectual and moral courage. As bishop of Alexandria for 20 years, Cyril had to struggle against the heresy of Nestorius, who refused to give to Mary the title of Mother of God, contending that Mary was only the mother of the man Jesus. Finally in 431 the Council of Ephesus solemnly declared Mary to be the Mother of God.

To fight for the truth we believe in is an eminently great form of courage. May we all pray to receive it from the Spirit.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 13th Week of the Year

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