Luke 9: 57-62
As Jesus and his disciples 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
Introductory Prayer: In
you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How
could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and
lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth
itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to
your promises. I love you because you have loved me
first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me
so many blessings. I humbly thank you.
Petition: Let me willingly accept the cost
of following in your footsteps.
1. Hidden Expenses: A would-be disciple of Jesus´ boasts that
he will follow Our Lord anywhere, whatever the sacrifice. Jesus´
response makes us wonder whether the fellow understood what he
would be getting into. Following Christ is demanding — and
not always glamorous. We might dream of doing great things
for Christ, but then find the day-to-day struggle distasteful ("the
Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head"). Unglamorous
challenges take many forms. A new wife might discover to
her chagrin that her husband can´t handle finances. Or a
parent with high hopes learns that a child has a
learning disability that will limit her ability to excel. Or
a husband takes a higher-paying job to support his family,
only to find his new boss is a tyrant. Or
a teen suffers ridicule at public school for her modest
clothes. All these trials can be the cost of following
Christ. What price am I willing to pay?
2. Family Ties: Christ tries to dissuade
another would-be follower from "burying his father." The man was
probably settling his father´s estate and getting too involved in
family finances. Our Lord wanted him to cut with all
that, immediately, and get on with the work of the
Kingdom. Too often money matters distract us from doing what
Christ wants. No wonder St. Paul warns, "The love of
money is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:10).
Is money holding me back in my relationship with Christ?
Am I working longer hours than I need to, just
for the sake of money?
3. Long Good-bye: The moment of decision had arrived. But
instead of joining Jesus´ camp, the would-be disciple felt the
tug of family ties. As followers of Christ, we have
to be willing to make a fundamental option for Christ
— an option that by necessity excludes other paths. Does
this sound hard? It should sound familiar. Think of the
young woman who says yes to a proposal of marriage.
She does so assuming that her beloved has long broken
off other romantic relationships. Or take the student who decides
to go out for the soccer team at school. He
rules out spending hours of practice on the basketball court.
By extension, if we want to follow Christ, why do
we fritter away hours in activities that have nothing to
do with our faith or the Church? Are there things
I need to weed out of my life?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me focus
my energies better on you and what you are asking
of me. Let me not be distracted by activities or
material possessions or even relationships that aren´t helping my spiritual
Resolution: I will weed
out one thing from my life that doesn´t fit in
with my state as a Christian. It could be a
Web site, a subscription to a publication, an immodest piece
of clothing, a relationship.
By Father Edward McIlmail, LC