The Would-be Followers of Jesus
Oswald Chambers says: “Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.”
In today’s gospel we have an account of three several persons that offered themselves to follow Christ and the answers that Christ gave to each of them. The first person said: “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus cautions him not to promise himself great things in the world in following him but, on the contrary, to count upon poverty and meanness. The first demand of Jesus for him is detachment from material goods and from personal comforts. He says, “The foxes have dens, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
To the second man Christ first gave the call. He said to him, “Follow me.” Though this man at first he hesitated, as it should seem, afterwards yielded. Christ has chosen us and not, we who chose Him. In the gospel of John Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,” (15:16).
But look at the excuse he made: “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” We may see here two temptations by which we are in danger of being drawn and keep away from following Christ. These temptations are: 1) We are tempted to defer of doing our duty and to do it in some other time. 2) We are tempted to think that our duty to our families and relatives will excuse us from our duty to Christ. That we should take care of our family first and provide for our children and then lastly we will think of serving Christ which is supposed to be in the first place.
The third man said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” This seemed reasonable; it was what Elisha desired when Elijah called him, “Let me kiss my father and my mother,” and it was allowed him. But the ministry of the gospel is preferable and the service of it is more urgent than that of the prophets and therefore here it would not be allowed.
In other words, Jesus wants a single-minded response to His invitation to follow Him, that is, a radical discipleship, a life devoted exclusively to His mission, to live in simplicity and trust.
The big mistake that we make is when we set conditions and excuses in terms of our relationship with God. God never placed conditions when He created and loved us; even when Jesus the Son died on the cross for us. His love for us is unconditional. In following Him, there is no retreat, no surrender, no return no exchange, one priest said.
And also, Jesus tells His disciples and us that once we follow Him, there is no option of turning back. In this sense, let us make it sure to be ready to follow Him in whatever trials and difficulties we might encounter when we decide to follow Him and let our children be baptized in the Catholic Church.
Can we sacrifice any of our everyday and expendable desires for Jesus’ sake?