Jun 30 2019 Reflection
Sunday 30 June 2019
First Reading: 1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21
You are my inheritance, O Lord.
PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Second Reading: GAL 5:1, 13-18
Gospel Reading: LK 9:51-62
Today’s Note: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When the days for Jesus’ being 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.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)
Is Jesus being unreasonable? All this man wanted to do was say goodbye to his family before following Jesus. Didn’t Elijah permit Elisha to say his good-byes before leaving (1 Kings 19:19-21)? To make matters worse, Jesus’ response to the two other would-be disciples seems a little rigid, even unwelcoming. Was Jesus actually trying to discourage these people from following him?
If you’re suspecting that something deeper is going on here, you’re probably right. First, it helps to remember how this passage fits into Luke’s timeline: we have just learned that Jesus is now “resolutely” traveling to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). The hour of his passion is drawing near. Luke is showing us a new sense of urgency in Jesus’ life and message. There just isn’t time left for secondary things—even good, important things. For those individuals whom the Lord is calling, it’s now or never!
Second, we don’t know how they responded to Jesus’ words. Maybe there was more to the conversation; we don’t know that either. That’s because Luke is actually more interested in encouraging us, his readers, to follow Jesus than in recounting the details of an event long past. As one commentator has put it, we may not know how they responded, but we do know what our own response ought to be.
There’s no doubt about it; this is a hard word to hear. But Jesus knows how challenging it can be. He knows that he is asking a lot of us. He also knows how much grace he has stored up to help you. He has already determined to forgive you when you fall and to encourage you when the going gets tough. He is never one to issue a command and then wait for you to fail at it. No, he will do everything he can to help you accomplish it—short of overpowering your free will, of course!
“Yes, Lord, I will follow you wherever you lead. I trust that your grace will be enough for me.”