Raise your hand if you are a disciple of Jesus… Okay put your hand down, that’s weird.
But do ask yourself, “Am I a disciple of Jesus?” If you answered yes I want to take you on a journey of thought I recently experienced in a homily at Mass.
In the Gospels Jesus had followers, disciples, and Apostles. The Apostles were the twelve men Jesus particularly chose to be close to Him and spread His teachings after he ascended into Heaven.
On the other hand, the “followers” were people who were curious about Jesus and wanted to learn about His teachings, but hadn’t professed full belief in Jesus as their Messiah.
But the “disciples” are the people who believe Jesus’ Word and have devoted their life to following Him.
Jesus’ disciples actually sacrificed livelihood to follow Jesus as He traveled from city to city. They didn’t necessarily know what tomorrow or their whole future held since they quit their jobs to follow Jesus, but they knew Jesus was God and the One who would fill their lives with truth and joy.
As a result they were willing to give up everything to be with Him and live for Him.
Are you willing to give up everything for Jesus?
Are you willing to let go of your work, social standing, friends, and even family to be with Jesus?
Do you want to say “Yes” to Jesus’ call on the seashore to follow Him? In other words, are you willing to give up your own will (way of life) and do whatever Jesus asks of you (follow him)? WHATEVER He asks??
If you are and answered “yes’ to all these questions and have answered “yes” to Jesus’ call, Praise God! You are light years ahead of me and I pray your faith will continue to be steadfast and strong.
When the priest asked this question: “Are you a disciple of Jesus,” in the beginning I, along with everyone else, confidently and surely raised my hand. But after these deeper questions I began to question the entire past 17.5 years of my life. When he asked the original question again later on, I couldn’t even raise my hand.
All my life I have been Catholic and tried to live a holy life. But when these deeper questions began to penetrate my heart, I realized all my prayers of “Thy Will be done,” haven’t truly been from the heart, but just from the mouth. I realized I hadn’t been fully surrendering my life and will to God because when I tried to truly, wholeheartedly say “yes” to Jesus (yes, I will follow You and surrender everything to You), I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t say “yes” because I was terrified. I was scared of what Jesus would ask of me if I turned complete authority over to Him.
Tears began rolling down my face because deep down I wanted to say “yes” and I knew I wouldn’t be able to move on in life or even go up to receive Him in Holy Eucharist in a few minutes if I didn’t say that three letter word from the heart.
It would be like a slap in the face to physically receive Him without having given Him permission to take over my soul.
In a desperate attempt for help, I turned to Jesus’ mother Mary in prayer and asked her to be with me and help me to have the strength and openness to answer Jesus’ call.
Shaking, I gripped a rosary and slowly I felt Mary begin to soften and open my heart.
I realized that I shouldn’t be scared to give Jesus my life because He only wants what’s best for me. He would only ask me to do things that would make me happy and lead me to sainthood. I should me more scared of what I might fall into from making choices on my own rather than where Jesus might call me to go.
As I approached Jesus in the communion line the chains around my heart began to break away and I knelt in full surrender before Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
“Yes, my Lord. Amen.”
The peace and relief I felt is indescribable. I was breathing in a new life of surrender to God and the joy that awoke within me was uncontainable.
I had never felt so alive before. I had never been so in love with Jesus.
I had given Jesus everything and entered into this beautiful union with Him as His new found disciple.
I was crying with pure joy.
I had opened a new chapter in my life.
I’m not saying it won’t be free of hardships or future failings of rejecting God’s call, but for once I felt fully confident I had the made the right choice. I pray Mary will continue to be with me and help me to renew my “yes” to God daily.
And I pray maybe, just maybe, you will say “yes” to Jesus’ call to follow Him, love Him, and let Him love you back.