Monday, June 27, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 8:18-22

Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 8:18-22

Today’s gospel passage from Matthew is very similar to the gospel reading that we heard yesterday from Luke.  Once again, people seem very enthusiastic about following Jesus “wherever he goes,” but they place conditions on their discipleship.  The second person, in particular, places limits on when he will follow Jesus.  He tells Jesus, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”  Jesus responds, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”

Jesus’ response to the man’s desire to bury his father may seem rather harsh.  Was Jesus so coldhearted that he would not let a son bury his father?  I think not.  In all likelihood, the man’s father had not died yet.  It seems that the man wanted to attend to his own business and had reservations about following Jesus.  Instead of telling Jesus that he wanted to follow him but that he felt a little nervous about it, he said that he had other matters to which he needed to attend.

How many times do we put our own agendas before God’s?  What holds us back from following Jesus wholeheartedly?  It is easy to make a list of all of the things that we need to do.  Do we put prayer on the top of the list? 

Today, I invite you to spend 15-30 minutes in prayer.  You may find a place to sit quietly, or you may walk and pray, or pray as you do artwork.  Whatever you do and however you pray, take some time to listen to God’s call.  To what is God calling you?  As you spend some time in prayer, ask for the grace to respond to God’s call wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

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