Following Jesus’ Discipleship amidst Conflict

The liturgy at this 2nd week of Ordinary Time exposes the call of Jesus to his first disciples. “Come and see,” he says, and our best response is to “stay with him.” The first disciples who followed Jesus spent time with him and became convinced that he was the Messiah, with John the Baptist as mediator (cf. Jn 1:35-42). It is John who points out Jesus to those who get attracted to follow him, as in the case of Andrew. In his joy, Andrew tells his brother Simon Peter the good news. Any beautiful encounter warrants the joy to share the experience with others.

There is need a need to listen to the call for an encounter or a dialogue with those different from us, and In the face of shame or fear to follow such call, to refrain from blaming the other for some unfortunate condition in life. At times there is a crude tendency to condemn a person as bad and unworthy of normal living simply because he/she has committed a crime. This is not the mark of a Christian conscience, for nobody is perfect; Christ forgives the sinner, and efforts must be made to help in the individual’s reformation.

We too may hear the Lord’s voice echoing deep within us for He is our big brother who redeemed us from sin, and made us call on God as “Our Father.” We respond with the words of Ps 40: “I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” (verse 9). He calls us by our name to undertake our mission of spreading the good news. We must feel our encounter with him in our journey of faith with others, as, inspired by prayer, we take joy in sharing our gospel experience with others.

In his New Year’s message, NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ national director Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona said: “Instead of negative news and hate, let us make it a habit to share the good news, and do good things no matter how small.” Here Let us remain open to the Father’s compassionate love, and trust that our following Jesus the Prince of Peace will turn weapons of war to human touches of healing and reconciliation, so that Mindanao and the entire country will experience true and lasting peace in the New year 2018.

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