When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.
As they 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.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Regarding the Gospel for this Sunday, I love the image that comes to mind when I read the words “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem….” Jesus did not take His passion and death lightly. And although there might have been fear (he shed blood in the garden), Jesus was determined to finish the mission that the Father had sent Him on – to save us from our sins. That was His goal and He resolved to go through whatever it took out of an intense and incredible love for us and a desire to complete the mission of the Father.
Take time to let that soak into your heart. Jesus loves you so much that He was willing to endure anything for your sake. Nothing was to keep Him from accomplishing this mission of salvation. Wow!
And while on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus entered a Samaritan village, but He was not welcome because Jews and Samaritans were not friendly toward one another. James and John wanted revenge, but Jesus rebuked them. Jesus was on a mission of love and forgiveness. He was even going to Jerusalem to save people like the Samaritans, who discriminated against Him. He was going to save the disciples, who didn’t understand His mission and were open to violence. He was going to save me and you, sinners though we are, because He loves us.
The Lord says to each one of us, “Follow me”. It seems like a reasonable excuse to go and bury one’s father before following Jesus. However, Jesus surprises him with the answer, “Let the dead bury the dead.” I don’t think Jesus is speaking against taking care of our family. But He is trying to emphasize that nothing or no one, not even our family, should be placed before Jesus and His call in our lives. Jesus calls us to trust that He will take care of everything if we entrust ourselves to Him.
Has my heart been transformed by the love of Jesus?
What keeps me from saying YES to Jesus’ call to follow Him?