Wednesday, 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus talks about three conditions for those who will follow him. First, not having a place to lay one’s head. In other words, a willingness to make sacrifices with little concern for personal comfort. Second, leaving the dead to bury their dead, even in one’s own family. In other words, giving the kingdom of God absolute priority, especially when conflicts of interest arise. Third, putting one’s hand to the plow without looking back. In other words, a disciple must make an unswerving commitment to his mission.
This is Jesus’ way of compelling us to name our priorities. Either we give our whole life to Jesus or reject him. We cannot be wishy-washy; we cannot make excuses. From this comes a great theme in the Christian tradition: namely, the theme of detachment and clarification of motive.
Robert Barron explains this principle in this way: “When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then, everything else finds its place around him and in relation to him.” “And anything that will assert itself and take his central position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.” That is the principle: Jesus is THE CENTER and OUR EVERYTHING.
If we believe that Jesus is the only Son of God, we must put everyone else and everything else aside in order to walk freely, faithfully, and completely with him. Our families, our loved ones, our friends, our partners and lovers must not take Jesus away from the center of our life. They must help us fix our eyes on Jesus. Our occupations, jobs, professions, careers or businesses must not dislodge Jesus from the center of our mind. They must not distract us from “minding the main thing.” Our personal wants and desires, our own plans and ambitions, must not displace Jesus from the center of our heart. They must not encumber and hamper us in any way.
If Jesus is THE LORD of our life, then we will not follow and serve other ‘lords’ who demand our allegiance. If the Lord Jesus is THE CENTER of our life, then our relationship with and attitude toward others will significantly and even radically change. If the Lord Jesus is OUR EVERYTHING, then we will give up everything else that is less than what Jesus is for us.
May we be able to say with truthfulness and honesty: “Lord Jesus, I will follow you wherever you go.”