Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reflection: Luke 9:51-62

The 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Luke 9:51-62 

The opening words of this Gospel are: “Not long before it was time for Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, He decided to go to Jerusalem.”  Jesus sent His messengers on ahead of Him to Jerusalem so that they could prepare for his arrival.

As Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem, there were people who refused to welcome Him.  When James and John saw this happening, they were extremely angry.  They turned to Jesus and asked: “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and annihilate these people?”  Jesus turned and sternly looked at them.  Then He corrected them for what they had said.  

As they approached Jerusalem, a man came Jesus and said to Him: “I will go with you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied to him, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests.  However, the Son of Man has no place to call His own.” Jesus then invited the man to follow Him.  However, the man looked at Jesus in dismay and said: “Let me wait until I have buried my father.”  Jesus bluntly responded: “Let the dead bury the dead.”

Then another person came to Jesus and said: “I want to follow you, Lord; however I need to return home and take care of some affairs and then I will follow you.” Jesus looked at the man and said: “Anyone who begins to plow and keeps looking back is not worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

While this collection of stories may just seem to be strung together as a sequence of events that occurred as Jesus made his way toward Jerusalem, there is a common theme.  In these stories, Luke instructs us about how to receive Jesus and his call, even if we find the call inconvenient or untimely.

We are not to be like those who ridicule Jesus for behaving a certain way, and we are to follow Jesus’ call without reservation.  It is easy for us to say, “Sure, Jesus, I will do this for you after I do what I want to do.”  Jesus does not want a halfhearted response from us when he calls.  He wants all of us, our entire selves, and he wants us to respond to his call with a wholehearted “yes.”

To what is Jesus calling you today?  Spend some quiet time reflecting on this question.  What is stirring within your heart?  How will you respond to Jesus’ call for you?

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