Thursday of 18th Week of Ordinary--Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest

The Spirit of Leaving Everything

Saint Dominic Guzman was born in Spain in 1170. As a student, he sold his books to feed the poor in a famine and offered himself in ransom for a slave. Beside a great love for the poor, Saint Dominic was a prayerful person and a great preacher. Under the protection of Our Lady for the Order of Friar Preachers, one of the threefold religious orders under Saint Dominic, she appeared to him and gave him the Rosary and bade him to go forth and preach. Beads in his hand, he revived the courage of the Catholic troops, led them to victory against overwhelming numbers, and crushed the heresy. His nights were spent in prayer, and his words rescued countless souls and three times raised the dead to life. On August 6, 1221, at the age of 51, he gave up his soul to God. What gave the saint wisdom, courage and strength to defend the faith, to feed the poor, and to crush the heresy if it’s not that he learned to leave everything behind in following the Lord’s teaching?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds those who want to follow him the three conditions in following him. First, they need to learn to be like him that he doesn’t have a stable condition of living. Today, he might live in this place, and tomorrow, he might live in a different location. People might hate them just as they hated him. To this, he said, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Second condition is the priority. Placing priority on others, specifically to the parents, rather than on the Lord, so to the man who asks, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” To him, Jesus responds, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaims the Kingdom of God.” Following the Lord and Spreading the Word of God are the higher priority than to take care of the parents.

Last condition is the responsibility to seek for the Kingdom of God rather than to allow many things of this life worry us. To the man who says, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” To him, Jesus responds, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

One evening, when the husband returned from work, he found his wife packing. “What in the world are you doing?” he asked. “I cannot handle it anymore,” she replied. “I’m tired of all the bickering and arguing and complaining that’s been going on between us all these years, I’m leaving.” Whereupon, the startled husband suddenly dashed to the bedroom, pulled a suitcase out of the closet, filled it with his belongings and ran after his wife, saying, “I cannot handle it any more either. I’m going with you!” Just as the man is willing to leave everything behind to follow his wife, the love of his life, to wherever she goes, the Lord Jesus invites us to leave everything behind to follow him, to seek the Kingdom of God, and to spread the Word of God. Have you and I been ready to follow him and to leave everything behind?


Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen

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