Today, the Gospel presents us —through two personages— a quality the good disciple of Jesus must have: to dispense with all material goods. Before, however, St. Matthew's text points out to a detail I would not like to overlook: «When Jesus saw the crowd press around him...» (Mt 8:18). Crowds gather around the Lord to listen to his words, to be healed of their material and spiritual sicknesses; they are seeking their salvation and a breath of eternal Life amidst a world in conflict.
As at that time, something similar happens in today's world: more or less consciously, we, all, need God's help, to satiate our heart with true spiritual goods, such as a better knowledge of Jesus Christ and a life of friendship and love for Him. Otherwise, we risk tumbling into the trap that fills out our heart with other “gods” giving no meaning to our lives: mobile phones, Internet, tourist holidays to the Bahamas, a frantic work to make more money, a better car than your neighbour or a gym where to excel with the best figure of them all... Right now, this is what is happening to many of us.
In sharp contrast, though, John Paul II's outcry to the youth, full of force and confidence, resounds: «It is possible to be both modern and profoundly faithful to Jesus Christ». It is needed, for this, as the Lord says, our breaking away with what may link us to a much materialized way of life that serves no purpose other than closing the doors to the Holy Spirit.
«The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (...) Follow me» (Mt 8:22), says today's Gospel. And St. Gregory the Great reminds us: «Let temporal things be used, while keeping eternal realities in our desire; let earthly things be utilized for our trek, while desiring the eternal ones for the end of our journey». This is a good criterion to examine whether we are properly following Jesus.