Today we meet Jesus on the road to Jerusalem.
The Gospel reading begins a unique section of the Gospels, found only in Luke,
where Jesus' face is set like flint to go to Jerusalem, the place of His
suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus
can not be bothered with whether or not the Samaritan villages on the way accept
him. Nor does He have time to
indulge James and John with a display of his power by sending fire upon these
villages. He has a clear mission: to
proclaim the Kingdom of God through His suffering and death.
He needs only one thing: loyal followers who will continue to proclaim
the Kingdom after his mission is complete.
By using the device of the Lord’s journey to Jerusalem, St. Luke
encourages Christians to look at their lives as a journey with the Lord.
This journey can be rigorous,
“foxes have lairs, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay
his head.” But the journey has a
purpose. We travel to that place
where our lives have meaning. Each
of us was created with the ability to bring a unique reflection of God to the
world. The journey isn’t to a
place. The destination is to a state
of existence where we are all that God created us to be.
We do not journey alone. Our
traveling companion is the One whose presence makes our hearts burn.
We walk with Jesus.
Also in today’s gospel reading the Lord confronts a man He meets on the
road who wants to put off the call to follow until later in his life.
First having to bury his father means that the man wants to wait several
years, perhaps many, until he is ready to join Jesus. The only trouble is that
Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem now. He
calls now. If the man does not
follow, then the Lord is going to pass him by.
There is no deferred enlistment with the Lord, like there is with the
Army. When we feel the need to come
closer to him, to perform a Christian service for someone else, to stand for our
moral principals, that is the Lord calling us to follow him now.
It is easy for us to say, “I'll do it later.”
The trouble is that very often later never comes.
By then the Lord has passed us by as he journeys on the road to making
his kingdom a reality. And we have
missed the opportunity to follow.
I’m sure we all can look back on our lives and find a whole host of
should-have-dones. Perhaps we never visited a sick neighbor.
Then that man or woman died. Perhaps
we allowed our children to talk us into letting them do something we didn't
think was proper. Then we were faced
with a major battle, forced to take something away that should have never been
there. Perhaps we wanted to set
aside time every day for prayer, but never got around to it.
Now we feel spiritually drained. We
can all look back on the times that we didn't answer the Lord's call.
At the same time, being concerned about the past doesn't get us anywhere
now. We need to focus on the
present. How is Jesus calling us to
follow now? How can I be a better
Christian today? What does the Lord
want from me? How can I be kinder to
my wife, husband, children, my parishioners?
Do I have the courage to stand up for him, for the faith, for his way of
life, for Christian morality?
Gospel is a call to Christian action. But
the Lord is not standing on a corner calling.
He is walking towards Jerusalem. He’s
more like a conductor calling out at the train station, “All aboard.”
If we don't listen and join Him, we’ll miss the train going to
Jerusalem. If we let Him pass us by,
we will never get to that place where our lives have meaning and purpose.