Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9,51-62.
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Comfort, convenience, connected
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening today
There’s a great story of how hunters catch monkeys in India. They drill a narrow hole into a tree and place some fruit inside a hollowed out area at the center of the tree and wait.
Eventually the monkey smells the fruit and sticks his hand in and clutches the fruit. Once his hand is a fist however he is unable to pull his hand out of the hole and is stuck. Despite his squealing and squawking the monkey, intent on what he thinks he really needs, refuses to let go. The hunter easily captures him by simply placing a bag over his head. The monkey in effect traps himself.
What does this story have to do with Luke’s Gospel about Jesus asking three men to follow him?
Jesus’ response to the first man who says he is willing to follow him anywhere seems to reveal the man may have been attached to comfort and luxury. Jesus tells him the uncomfortable truth that discipleship is not a life of ease but means sacrificing and being a pilgrim and stranger on this earth, ever journeying and always on the go.
The second man who was asked to follow Jesus, has a condition, that is he says he will follow him only after his father dies, that is when it is more convenient to do so, in his time We however are expected to respond immediately to our call to follow Him.
The third man says he wants to follow Jesus but that he has to say farewell to his family first. Although Jesus response to not taking your hand off the ploughing may seem harsh, it actually reveals the mans first priority is not God but family relationship which he has placed over God.
In all three cases Jesus is teaching us and all would be disciples to consider the cost involved in following him, which demands a radical and total detachment from everything; all the comforts of life, the convenience of doing what we want, when we want, and most challengingly not being attached to our familial relationships. This does not mean of course that we should not love our mothers and fathers or our family but rather that we are called to love God more, placing him alone in the first place, and like Jesus always setting our face to our final destination, Heavenly Jerusalem.
Discipleship requires complete detachment in order to follow Christ freely.
Today we can ask ourselves what our own unfreedoms that keep us from following Him, what are we clutching to (what comfort, convenience or relationship) that we don’t want to let go of, that trap us today and prevent us from radically, and totally following our Lord wholeheartedly today.
May God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit amen