Therefore, it is important that we reflect about how we follow Jesus. A very shallow way of doing so is to follow him just as an admirer. Philip and Andrew were much more than admirers. They follow Jesus not just to see him, but follow in his ways. Following in the language of the gospels means to get into the way to life, since the disciples journey with Jesus towards the resurrection. In this way, to follow Jesus must be for us something more than what we would do supporting and admiring our favorite singers, actors or basketball players.
To follow Jesus must be also more than running after and clapping our hands to him. It is quite common nowadays to see great concentration of crowds in religious ceremonies and festivals, often broadcasted so that the whole world can hear and see the gathering of the “followers of Jesus.” Some even try to grab God and use him as a tool to produce graces and miracles.
Following Jesus in its deeper sense has to do with the cross, with renouncing ourselves. Fr. Cantalamessa once explained that we actually do not need to renounce what we are, for we are made in the image of God and that is already good. But we must renounce what we have become. Far from God we become bad. Conversion during this Lenten journey means to replace the heaviness of our selfish motivations with the lightness of the resurrected.
Following in its deepest sense is the obedience of the one who has faith. It is to obey the will God and the will of God is neither like the rules imposed by a dictator, nor a destiny with a predestined map to be followed. It is a route we trace in our day-to-day life though the choices we make. In the biblical vocabulary, to obey is closely related to listening in order to distinguish the voice of God and this has to be done by each one, a perception to be learned.
During this season we will be seeing again the scenes of the way of the cross; we will probably see movies and dramatizations about the passion of Christ. There will be many gadgets helping us to visualize the passion. But let us not forget that Lent is above all a time to believe, to recover our faith. It is a time to return to be what we are meant to be, repairing those aspects of ourselves which have become bad.