When we read the Gospels every day, we start to notice a pattern. Jesus is on a journey, and as he goes, he is encountering different people along the way. Often, as he is passing by, he sees someone and invites that person to go with him.
We think of stories of the apostles, Peter and Matthew; John and Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; we think of Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman.
Sometimes in the Gospel, the person’s name is not mentioned: “And to another he said, ‘Follow me.’ ”
Those two words, “Follow me,” can stand as a summary for the whole Gospel. These words contain the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer.
“Follow me” means: Come and see what I am like. Live like I live, love like I love. Seek God’s will in everything. Serve as you see me serving, shining the bright light of God’s love and mercy into every corner of the earth.
Late in his life, Saint Pope John Paul II told a gathering of young people: “You are a thought of God, you are a heart-beat of God. To say this is like saying that you have a value which in a sense is infinite, that you matter to God in your completely unique individuality.”
This is the beautiful truth of our lives. Jesus loves each of you, he has a plan for you. He came into this world to know you, to walk with you, and to invite you to live in friendship with him.
Our lives truly begin when we become aware of his loving gaze, when we realize that he knows our name, and that he is calling us to walk with him.
In these times of confusion and division in our world and in our culture, the most important thing we can do is return to Jesus Christ. We need to seek him, find him, and love him. We need to discover ourselves once again in his gaze of love, and open ourselves in new ways to listen for the divine voice that is speaking to our hearts.
Nothing is lost or taken away from us when we let Jesus into our lives. In fact, it is the opposite. His friendship is the key that opens the door to life’s true meaning. He calls, and we answer. And in this dialogue, we discover the truth about who we are, and who we are called to become.
“Follow me” is a call to vocation, to mission. It is a call to serve Jesus completely, with no limits or conditions on our love. He has a task for you, and he is asking for commitment and sacrifice from us.
Jesus wants us to do great things with our lives and he will give us the graces to do those great things. He is calling us to use our gifts and talents to proclaim his kingdom and to save souls, to create a beautiful society that is open to God and that serves human dignity and social justice.
The secret is that we carry out our vocation in the ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives.
No matter our state of life, or our occupation, no matter who you are or what you are doing, you have the opportunity to proclaim his kingdom, and to help others to meet Jesus and know his love. Every day, in every circumstance, we have the possibility of bringing Jesus into the lives of others.
We need to once again make Jesus the way and the truth for our lives. In our every ministry in the Church, we need to propose again the beautiful adventure of following Jesus.
One of the saints said: “There are no roads made for you. You yourselves will make the way through the mountains, beating it out by your own footsteps.” This is the adventure. He calls and we answer.
Jesus left footprints when he walked on this earth. He calls all of us now, each in our way, to walk in his footsteps, to follow his path of love. And he promises us that, if we answer his call, then we will know love and joy, beauty, goodness, and truth. Our lives will become a pathway of love that leads to heaven and eternal life.
Pray for me, and I will pray for you.
Let us ask Holy Mary, Mother of Fair Love, to help us to follow her Son, lighting up the paths of the earth by our love, leading many others to hear his call and to answer.