Are you following? | Inquirer Opinion
Moments

Are you following?

The story is told about a little boy who was asked by the teacher to count. He readily answered, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10!” The teacher said, “Very good. What comes after 10?” The boy shouted, “Jack, queen, king, Ma’am!”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 4:12-23), we hear about the men who were called, and who left everything and followed Jesus. From fishermen, they became fishers of men. They became a part of Team Jesus to become preachers, healers, and witnesses that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

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Life takes a turn when you begin to follow or serve something or someone greater than yourself, and when you focus less on what the world gives you, and more on what you owe the world. Payback time! That’s what discipleship is all about.

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What are you following in this world? Stocks? The latest news? The endless K-drama on TV? The latest post of your favorite showbiz personality or politician? Who are you following? Make sure you follow something or someone worth following, someone who can give meaning to your life on earth, and beyond.

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Remember the story about a driver who followed the tail light of a car in front of him as he negotiated a foggy road? He kept following, and when the car ahead stopped, he blew his horn, only to find out that the car was already parked at the garage of the owner. That’s tenacity for you! May we not be just fair weather followers, but tenacious followers of our Lord, through thick and thin.

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Who are you? What have you sacrificed? What have you given up? What are you living for? Whom are you living for? May we not belittle nor dismiss these important questions as we journey on, in life.

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Last Jan. 13, 2023, I joined a concelebrated Mass of all priests born in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, headed by Archbishop Marlo Peralta, D.D., Archbishop of Nueva Segovia, who reminded us to be grateful for our priestly vocation. He also asked the congregation to pray for priests and religious, and for more priestly and religious vocations.

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It was good to be with about 170 confreres at the Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay, last week for our provincial assembly, elections, and chapter. Thank you, Lord, for three days of communal rest, reflections, and renewal. We follow the Lord as one, “with respect, understanding, compassion, and love.”

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I entered the seminary in 1966 as a young boy of 12. I have received more than I have given to the Lord all these years. I thank the Lord for the privilege of serving Him and His people. All I know is that He called me not so much because of me, but in spite of me; not so much to become a somebody, but to be a someone to Him and His people.

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How do I follow the Lord every day? At different moments of the day, I listen to Him whisper to me: “Just love me, Jerry.” And when I meet all kinds of people in my ministry, especially difficult, demanding, complaining, proud, and unkind people, I listen to Him whisper to me: “Just love them, Jerry.”

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Think about this: “Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul, may keep the path, but will not reach the goal; While he who walks in love may wander far, yet God will bring him where the blessed are.” (Henry Van Dyke)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, help me to follow you, and just love you, and your people, every day. Amen.

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