Gospel of Luke 9:51-62
When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Let us Pray: Loving God,
open our ears to hear your word
and draw us closer to you,
that the whole world may be one with you
as you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have you ever been so absorbed that you were oblivious to what was happening around you? As Jesus went through the Samaritan village, he was unaware to the fact they appeared to snub Him. His disciples noticed and they took it as rejection and asked if they should command fire to destroy them? But Jesus turned and rebuked them. They continued to another village. The gospel tells us of Jesus’ resolute toward, Jerusalem, He felt the growing sense of His destiny, we know as readers that this is far more than some little itinerary detail from Jesus’ travels. Jesus is heading toward Jerusalem to save the world through his own sacrifice. During this journey Jesus uses the occasion to speak about discipleship and about the implications of following him. He is saying, “Be willing to let go of the past.” This was important as He knows that his disciples will be doing exactly the opposite after he was gone. In John 21: 1-10, we see they returned to their old ways of fishing for fish instead of fishing for men. Their lives have been radically and unexpectedly different than anything they had imagined. They had to leave behind what they knew and done and go in new directions. As we continue to look at this gospel, we can see that Jesus’ response to some very legitimate requests reminds us that there will always be justifiable excuses causing us to postpone living a life of discipleship. Other important matters will always compete for our attention. However, when our loyalties to family, community, sports, pleasure, tradition, or anything else claim first place, our commitment to discipleship wanes. Excuses no matter how good or mandatory, should stand in the way of following Jesus. Jesus was asking for full commitment, real commitment. Jesus is calling us into question and that is never easy, fun, or comfortable. He is calling into question the direction of our life, the values we claim to hold, and how we are living and embodying those values. He is asking us to look at ourselves rather than on those who look, act, and believe differently from us; those who do not hold our particular religious or political beliefs; those who are not from these parts; those to whom we are opposed and in conflict with, for whatever reasons. And if you are not sure who you are in conflict with look at your social media feed and who posts the articles and comments that push your buttons, turn on the news channel you refuse to watch, picture the face of one you crush and defeat in the arguments that go on in your head. Today’s gospel will not let us turn away from the people and situations that are right in front of us or the future that is coming to us. Jesus recognizes and holds before us the tension in which we live. On the one hand we say to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” On the other hand, we say to him, “But first let me go and ….” You probably know what that is like. The time is now. On our own journey today, we need to proclaim the Kingdom of God. If we keep waiting for the right moment, time will run out quickly and the moment is lost.
Let us Pray: Life-giving God, heal our lives,
that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds
and offer you thanks from generation to generation
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.