On Discipleship and Saving Souls

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
30 July 2015

Exodus 40:16-21,34-38
Matthew 13:47-53

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One of the early lessons introduced to us by our Introduction to Sacred Scriptures teacher is to look into the value of repeated words, phrases and expressions in a given passage.

Applying this lesson in reading closely the Exodus account in the first reading, I note that the phrase “as YHWH ordered Moses” is repeated three times in the first part – while the same point about YHWH’s directing their movement is stressed in the second.

Apparently, this passage reinforces upon the readers how in the Old Testament, led by Moses, the Israelites strove to follow the Lord.

Our Gospel pericope we just listened to wraps up the 13th chapter of Matthew—which is also known as the “Day of Parables.”[1]

Jesus, in this chapter, narrated one parable after the next, hoping to explain to his disciples, in down-to-earth and clear-cut terms, what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

Not so for them to appreciate it well. But more so because, they are expected to preach it to others. The point of having a parade of parables is to instill in the disciples the need to make the people they minister to become disciples as well.

This ought to have a soft spot in our hearts because this is an experience of St. John Bosco.

When he founded the Salesian congregation in 1859, 17 others joined him. Among them was a boy named Michael, who frequented Don Bosco’s oratory when he was just eight years old. And the history of our congregation tells us that he is the very first one to succeed Don Bosco when he passes on.

However “to make others disciples” is not just about mere succession, or to ensure that someone will take our place in the future.

To make disciples is about the salvation of souls.

We who have endeavored to follow Don Bosco—whose main preoccupation was to seek and save soul—have a solemn duty to make disciples of the people, especially of the youth entrusted to our care.

Let us pray in this Mass that these years of our study of theology may form in each of us disciples of the Lord who will serve as light to guide the path of many others in search of His will.

[1] Daniel Harrington, Sacra Pagina, The Gospel of Matthew, 208.

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