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The Happiest Words: Follow Me

A couple asked me to preside at their wedding in a chapel in nowhere. I heard great things about map-quest, so I printed some directions and went off. I was encouraged and hopeful from the beginning. I took the Mass Pike and got off the right exit. I traveled for ten minutes…and then noticed that the roads in Map-Quest did not match the roads I was passing by. I turned off the road to check out where I was. The gas attendant told me that I looked lost. I replied, “I can’t be.” I told him the chapel’s name, and he said, “I know the chapel, but it is not around here.” I bought a map. Yes, a paper, can-never-fold-them-back-to-the-original-fold map. But I got there.

Soon after that, one of my confreres introduced me to the GPS. He told me I would love it for its simplicity and convenience. At first, it was great because I was going in the right direction Storrow Drive west. I got about halfway there, and I noticed the message on the screen said: “Low battery.” No problem, I will plug it into the cigarette lighter. The cigarette lighter did not work. So I bought another map.

Finally, our community was invited to Milton to dine with our other Oblates. Naturally, we left at four-thirty during rush-hour traffic. The driver said, “I think I know a short-cut.” Notice he said, “I think, I know….” We got lost.

I know that the paper map is outdated. But here is the truth. The map does not say, “I think I know a short cut.” The map does not have a screen or require batteries or the internet. It never leaves you and always leads you. When Jesus began His ministry, He went to the sea of Galilee, and the first thing He said to the disciples was, “Follow me.” That is the divine road map. The disciples wanted that guidance so much that they left everything to possess the divine road map. Allow me to help you understand this better.

My friend Fr. Jim loves to fish, and one evening he took me to his favorite waters in Situate, Massachusetts. He was supposed to be giving me directions. After listening to him tell fish stories, I asked him, “Are we supposed to be in New Hampshire?” He retorted, “Take this exit, now take this right, pull down this street.” I am not kidding. We ended up at a dead-end street. We pulled out the map, and while we were trying to figure out where we were on the map, a resident walked over to us and asked if we needed some directions. We told him where to go, and he assured us we could get there. He said, “Cut through this parking lot, and you will see a Dunkin’ Donuts. Make the next right, then take a left at the second set of lights.” He continued to give us directions, “take a left, go straight, take a right.” So after a while, I asked him, “What do you do after you pass the Donkin Donuts? He answered, “Actually, I am heading in that direction. Just follow me.” You cannot imagine how happy I was to hear those words. They are the best words, especially when you are lost or confused. No wonder the disciples left everything when Jesus said those wonderful words. “Follow me.” There are a lot of roads in life, and only a few of them will get us to our final destination. Some of those roads will be detours or traffic. On one occasion, Peter told Jesus, I may not be the best disciple, I give you wrong advice, argue about who is the greatest, and I almost drowned. However, I did one thing right–I followed You.” That is why the happiest words you will ever hear will be, “Follow me.” And the greatest thing we will ever do is to follow him.

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