“Never take my son back there!” —Genesis 24:8

Abraham insisted that Isaac never go back to Abraham’s ancestral place of origin, the land of the Chaldeans. That was a place of pagan religion. Abraham, who had left that land to follow the call of God, knew that going back to his lifestyle before God called him might mean permanently turning away from God.

We live in a culture of death. Temptations in the secular culture abound, and the pressure to “fall away from [our] sincere and complete devotion to Christ” may overcome us (2 Cor 11:3). Perhaps we have a sinful place in our own history. It may involve sexual sin, alcohol, drugs, domestic abuse and violence, infidelity, gambling, rebellion, atheism, contraception, etc. These places and friendships could instantly pressure us to return to that old lifestyle. We turned our back on that lifestyle when we turned to the Lord Jesus (see Eph 5:3-4). Like Abraham, when the temptation to go back to that place presents itself, we must say, “I will never go back there!”

When the Lord calls us to something, He likewise calls us away from something else. St. Matthew in today’s Gospel is our model. When Jesus called him, he “got up and followed Him” (Mt 9:9). Matthew never once turned back, and now reigns in glory with the Lord. With Matthew, follow Jesus, put your hands to the plow, and never look back (Lk 9:62).

PRAYER: Jesus, “though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”
PROMISE: “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.” –Mt 9:13
PRAISE: St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria became a medical doctor to aid in physical healing. He was later ordained a priest and became a conduit of spiritual healing.

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