Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Free for the Journey

Free for the Journey

October 3, 2012
Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

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.”  Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:57-62)


O Lord, I see your outstretched hand and I hear your invitation to come and follow you.  I don’t want to be like the people you encounter in today’s reading.  I don’t want there to be anything holding me back from walking with you.  Grant me the grace, I pray, to have my priorities straight.


Last December a friend and I attended the Gaither Christmas Concert at the Patriot Center.  One of the songs I heard, “The Promise,” by the Martins, has stuck in my mind ever since.  Basically, it’s about the promise Christ makes to be with us through everything in this life and to prepare a place for us in heaven.  One line in particular, “And I did say don't make this world your home,” came back to me as I was reading today’s Gospel.

Many of us are quite talented at deceiving ourselves.  We don’t like to think about death, so we live as though we will never die.  Although we are transients on this earth, we settle in as if we’ll be here forever.  We feather our nests and make ourselves comfortable.  This is home.

But then along comes Jesus calling us to follow him   We have to leave our self-created, comfortable sanctuaries.  Following Jesus means undertaking a journey.  He’s always on the move.  Jesus is always on the road to the Cross, to the Resurrection, to eternal life with his Father in heaven.  He invites us to come with him, and as Christians we’ve said we will.

But how many of us are actually prepared to do that?  How many of us put the journey with Christ above all else?  Last Wednesday, our Gospel reading (Luke 9:1-6) was about taking nothing but our faith when we are going out in Jesus’ name.  Today, we are reminded that before we can even accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him, we have to be free of whatever ties us to this world.   Are we willing to leave that nest we’ve so carefully feathered and furnished to follow the Lord wherever the journey might lead?  Can we leave the past behind and focus on the Kingdom instead?

Jesus’ words in today’s reading aren’t meant to be taken literally.  It’s okay to have a home and a place to lay your head at night.  The Ten Commandments include honoring our fathers and mothers, so Jesus doesn’t literally mean don’t take care of them or see to their burials.  God gives us our families and hopes that we will love and care about one another.  It’s more a question of whose priorities and loyalties come first, God’s or someone else’s.  The journey with Jesus requires our all.  Once we’ve committed ourselves, there can be no turning back, so we need to be certain we are free for the journey before we sign on.


How free are you to journey with Christ?  What things are tying you down and preventing you from being free?  Material possessions?  Friendships?  Family expectations?  How willing are you to lay them down in order to follow Jesus wherever he may lead?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I first met Fr. Oscar in 1968, my sponsor. His gentle way and calmness always made me feel that my need to talk was never an inconvience. When I needed his help in 1975 to perform my wedding, after being told that the Espicopal church where my bride to be was a member would only perform a renewal of our vows(we had eloped to York,S.C.),Fr. Oscar told us no problem. As the Catholic Church did not recognize civil ceremonies and that we were 'living in sin'. He gave my wife instruction and brought her into the Church and on 22 November,1975 we became husband and wife. Next month we will celebrate 37 years together. Though we are living and working in Kuwait, we are still thankful for his efforts and kindness. He is and will always be a part of our lives. 'For what Oscar brought together, let no man put asunder.' We love you Big O.
David and Priscilla Dore