There was a missionary priest assigned to the Philippines who did not speak or understand Tagalog. He asked his parishioners to teach him the native tongue. While preparing to wed a couple the following day, the groom shyly and nervously confessed, “Father, I always forget to ‘kwan’iyong “ano.” The priest asked him what “kwan” and “ano” meant. The groom responded, “Father, I always forget to pray and go to church on Sundays.” The priest thought that “kwan” and “ano” meant to pray and go to church.

Excited about the new words he has learned, the foreign missionary’s homily at the wedding of the couple went this way: “To the newly weds, I advice you to ‘kwan’ before going to sleep; when you wake-up, ‘mag-kwan’; before eating breakfast, ‘mag- kwan’; and also before leaving the house and upon return.” The newly weds responded, “Father, that would kill us!” “And, oh, yes, that reminds me,” the priest replied, “Before you die, ‘mag-kwan.”

We are normally unsure of something when we say “kwan.” But we must not answer the Lord, “kwan,” “ano,” “baka,” or “kasi,” when He asks us to follow Him. We must not be hesitant; the Lord will not tolerate answers like that. If you mean yes, answer, “yes.” If you mean no, answer, “no”. From the gospel, we can pick-up three important points on how to answer the Lord’s invitation, to “come and follow me.” First, is that we must realize that our answer must be urgent. It cannot be put-off for tomorrow. Your answer should be given now.

When we normally put-off things we must do, we never set around to doing it, because the grace of the good thing to be done is that it should be done right away. Good should not be allowed to wait. It must be done immediately

The second characteristic of our answer is that it should be total. Total means no reservation – the whole person. You cannot say, “I offer myself from my waist up to the Lord, but from my waist down is mine.” How can we be committed to the Lord when we say, “I will think with the Lord, I will love with the Lord, but my sexuality and economics and politics are different things. The church should not interfere with that.”

We are happy when the church protests injustice, but when the church speaks against artificial contraception, we say, “The church should not bother.” We become cafeteria Catholics. We get what we want and leave behind those not suited to our taste and lifestyle. We become half-hearted Christians with half-hearted commitments, But the Lord is telling us, “Your commitment must be total. You must love me in the Church as much as you love me at home.”

The third point is that our love of the Lord must be radical. In Latin, “radix” means “root.” Our discipleship must be from the root and not merely skin-deep. Not only from the lips, but from the heart and every fiber of our body.

The Lord invites you today to “Come and follow me. Come and change your life. Come and be a better person. Come and rise up from where you are. ” Our answer to this must be urgent. Our answer must be total. Our answer must be radical.

We will pray for each other that our “kwan,” “kasi,” “baka,” “ano,” and “saka na lang” will be overcome by the grace of God. May we follow the Lord. May we change totally and radically, Amen.

Mk 2:14
Jesus In My Heart

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