When the days drew near for him 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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In both the first reading and the gospel, we see invitations to follow. Whereas, when Elisha asks to first bid farewell to his parents and Elijah gives a fast retort but then agrees, Jesus’ response to such incidents of choice is much stronger. Thus, in today’s passage from Luke, Jesus says: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In the second reading, Paul instructs the Galatians: “For freedom Christ set us free …” and …“serve one another through love.” With these words of Scripture in mind, we call upon the Holy Spirit and ponder:
-What means did the Holy Spirit use to let you know the path Jesus wanted you to take to follow Him?
-Are there things in your life—prior to your
“Follow Me” call— which still block your freedom to totally embrace the call of Jesus?
-If yes, what strategies will you take to address this lack of freedom?
—Fr. Tim Shepard, S.J. is a pastoral minister, librarian, and retreat director living at
Lord, strengthen our resolve to follow when the way is hazy and our footsteps are not secure. Strengthen our understanding and acceptance that revelation is a process of discovering, choosing, and following you wherever we are in our day, in our life. And should we struggle with taking that first step, assure us that we need but move forward one step at a time in response to your call.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!