Lk. 9:51-62

“I will follow you.” Sentences spoken in Luke’s Gospel by those whom Jesus met. Strong sentences, answered by sentences from Jesus which indicate that those who seek to follow Him on their journeys of faith must make serious commitments. Interesting and compelling sentences.

Each Sunday you and I come to worship wondering what sentences we are going to hear. Will we be caught up by words in the liturgy, in the music or in the lectionary readings? Will some sentences in the homily snag our wandering attention. Our hungering souls yearn to hear sentences which will feed and nourish us.

In the Old Testament reading we hear sentences of the call to a young man (Elisha) to follow a prophet (Elijah). Upon so doing there is a sacrificial feast. As I noted earlier in St. Luke we hear sentences about following Jesus as He journeys towards the Passion and the sacrifice of his Crucifixion. In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians we hear sentences about life in the spirit. We are urged to sacrifice things of the flesh. In order to live in the Kingdom of God our lives need to be predicated upon faith and commitment to Jesus and to His teachings. By so doing we have the fruits of the spirit: joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As St. Paul notes, “There is no law against these things.”

A cacophony of sentences. How do we sort out what we need to hear? As hungry travelers on our journeys of faith you and I walk the line between the sacred and the profane, between things eternal and things temporal, between the life spiritual and the life material. Where is the commonality in all of this? As I thought about these things this past week, I prayed for individual members of the parish. I kept asking what does he or she hunger to hear? It occurred to me that there are twelve sentences that we all hunger to hear, be we young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick, religious or agnostic. Here are the twelve sentences that each one of us hungers to hear:
1. You are beautiful.
2. You make me happy.
3. You are good to me.
4. I would rather be with you than anyone else.
5. It is going to be all right.
6. I am always with you.
7. Let me help you.
8. I will always take care of you.
9. We will do it together.
10. Thank you.
11. You are welcome.
12. I love you.

Regardless of race, ethnicity, country or status, we all want to hear those words. Children want to hear those sentences. Parents want to hear them. Spouses and friends want to hear them. Young and old hunger to hear them.

As I prayed about things, I realized that those twelve sentences are embodied in the life of Christ and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, when you and I come to the sacrificial feast of thanksgiving, the Eucharist, those twelve sentences are articulated both implicitly and explicitly. We are beautiful, affirmed, because we are created in the image of God. We make God happy through our praise and thanksgiving. He rejoices in our acts of charity. He wants to be with us. He assures us that we are held in His hands; it is going to be all right. He will always be with us, take care of us and regardless of the challenge we will do it together. We will dwell with him and He with us. He thanks us for our love. He says we are welcome for His graciousness. Most of all, you and I are loved.

Twelve sentences which in the life of the world or in the life of the spirit every soul hungers to hear.

Today, pass those sentences on to someone else. Live in the life of the spirit, by allowing yourself to follow Jesus in your journey of faith. Consider twelve simple sentences. 1) You are beautiful. 2) You make me happy. 3) You are good to me. 4) I’d rather be with you than anyone else. 5) It’s going to be all right. 6) I am always with you. 7) Let me help you. 8) I will always take care of you. 9) We will do it together. 10) Thank you. 11) You are welcome. 12) I love you.
Amen. Fr. Gage-