DWELLING PEACEFULLY IN FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, LIGHT, JOY~ Part 5~A
My cross (their cross) and: immediately after, straight from the Holy
Gospel, we hear Jesus again inviting us with His love-words: follow Me. 
two words follow Me are spoken to us by Jesus over twenty times in the
sequere is the
Latin and places ‘me’ before follow. The English translation is grammatically
correct for English and Suis-moi, the French translation incorporates:
the word ‘suis’, translated in English as ‘m because the word ‘suis’ is
always used in connection with an action such as the suis-moi and also
with being: such as Je suis which means, in context, I am/I follow.
με is the
Greek for follow me, placing me second as in the French. In fact, the Greek
term means to follow the thread of a discourse, hence when Jesus invites us to
follow Him He is first and foremost inviting us to follow the discourse with
Him, in a word into the depths and implications of all His words.
Jesus then is both a matter of heart-understanding attentiveness and being with
Jesus wherever He leads.
very text of St. Matthew 4:18-20 reveals Jesus, always with the
fire-love of His Sacred Heart, is seeking us. His call is always a matter of
love: our response makes real our love for Him. Once He sees them Jesus says: Follow
Me, and I will make you fishers of men. They immediately left their nets and
followed Him. *
calls, love responds!
among us has not, on occasion, when asked by someone to accompany them, or help
with something responded with: “Be right with you as soon as…..” Such a response is not a lack of willingness
but a question of priorities.
Matthew illustrates this point when someone, defined by St. Matthew as already
a disciple, obviously was asked by Jesus for a deeper commitment, but wavers
saying in essence “Be right with You as soon as…..” to which Jesus replies: Follow
Me and let the dead bury their dead. [Mt. 8:22] Jesus is not here denying
the commandment to honour our parents, rather He is teaching us that our
greatest priority must always be the Kingdom and the things of the Kingdom.
is the call of Matthew himself; in 10:38 and 16:24 the taking up of our
cross as constituent of following Jesus; in 19:16-22 the story of the
Rich Young Man, for whom dispossession of his great wealth as a condition of
following Jesus was just too much.
Mark also tells of Jesus’ call to follow Him addressed to James and John in 1:17,
to Levi in 2:14 and in 8:34 also gives Jesus’ teaching about
taking up our cross as a vital component of following Him and repeats this in 10:21.
Luke’s first ‘follow Me’ account is in 5:27 with the call of Matthew,
and showing Matthew’s exuberance at being converted, while in 9:23 he
gives a detailed teaching by Jesus of what taking up one’s cross and following
Him entails and later in 9:59 we encounter again Jesus’ teaching on
priorities of choice. In St. Luke’s version the one with much wealth is defined
as ‘a certain ruler’, 18:22 is the hunger of love for that man, an
offering of love rebuffed because even though the weight of the man’s wealth makes
him sorrowful the sorrow is not exchanged for the joy of following Jesus.
John tells us of Jesus finding Philip and the asking to be followed 1:43.
It is St. John who gives us Jesus’ self-revelation teaching He is the Good
Shepherd and notes how the sheep follow Him, 10:27. It is after His
triumphal procession into Jerusalem that Jesus connects our faithful service
with yet again the invitation to follow, 12:26 so that we may be where
easily remember Peter’s boast during the Last Supper, but we often forget this
occurs in the context of wanting, in his burning love for Jesus, to follow Him:
chapter 21 affirming that Peter will die a martyr’s death, it is Jesus Risen,
radiating fire, love, light upon Peter who in saying to Peter once more Follow
Me, 21:19, shows to Peter and all of us the ultimate experience of
responding to Jesus’ loving invitation to follow Him is that of resurrection
and eternal life with Jesus in the heart of the Trinity.
Peter of course seeing John, who self refers as the disciple Jesus loved,
following Jesus, the old insecurity, if not jealously, flares, so Peter pushes
Jesus on what will become of John and this is the one time in the Holy Gospels
where the tone is not invitational but a command: YOU FOLLOW ME, 21:22.
Peter, the literal “Follow Me” will come after the washing of the feet at the
Last Supper (cf. Jn 13:36), and later, in a definitive way, after the
resurrection, on the shore of Lake Tiberias (cf. Jn 21:19)……………we may ask: who
is He who issues the call to follow Him, and promises to those who follow Him
such great rewards, even eternal life? Can an ordinary human being promise so
much and be believed and followed, and have such a hold not only on those happy
disciples but also on thousands and millions of people throughout the
centuries?.......In establishing the need of the response to the call to follow
Him, Jesus concealed from no one that to follow Him involves sacrifice,
sometimes also the supreme sacrifice……(Mt.16-24-25)……At the same time, however,
Jesus proclaimed blessed those who are persecuted “on account of the Son of
Man” (Lk 6:22)
* The citations are only the verse where
the word appears, unless otherwise indicated.
Catechesis on the Creed; John Paul II; Jesus Son and Saviour; Volume Two; pp.
246/247 & 249; Pauline Media 1996
Fr. Arthur Joseph