(Part 199)


September 28, 2016

Today’s gospel:  Luke 9:57-62

Christians are followers of Christ. We need to know what this means, and then truly live it out. This is because today there are very many nominal Christians, who carry the name of Christ but do not live according to his ways. One important aspect is knowing what our priority as Christians is. Is it family? The poor? Justice issues? Immigration? Climate change? Political involvement?

All these are of course important for a Christian, but of utmost importance is evangelization, and especially the missing first step in evangelization which is the proclamation of the gospel. Jesus tells us, “But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (v.60b). Those who are disciples of Christ are used by him as instruments in order to set “a hand to the plow’ (v.62a), that is, to prepare the field for the seed that is to be planted.

It is such proclamation of the word and planting of the seed that bring a person to meet Christ, and eventually to live Christ, thus becoming his follower. As such, it is of the highest priority, for without this, nothing else can truly follow. This is of greater priority, and this might surprise you, than home, loved ones and family. This is not to say that the home front is not important, because it is of great importance. But Jesus had an even greater priority.

Though Jesus spent his first 30 years in his home, it was not his priority to build his own home. “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (v.58). It is natural for all animals, and especially humans, to build their own homes, but that was not the priority of the Son of Man.

It is of greater priority than loved ones, that is, one’s parents, children and siblings. To the one who said, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father” (v.59b), Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (v.60). One goes first not to bury one’s father, but to proclaim the gospel. The call after all is not about death but about life.

It is of greater priority than family. To another who said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” (v.61). This person knew what he wanted, which was to follow Jesus, but he wanted to do first things first, and that was to go to his family rather than proceeding with Jesus on his journey. Jesus sets him straight. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (v.62). If you have already decided, then act immediately on that decision. Do not keep looking back to what you are leaving behind. Otherwise your fitness for the total dedication required of a disciple becomes questionable.

Jesus has called us. He has invited us. “Follow me.” (v.59a). Let our response be firm and with conviction. “I will follow you wherever you go.” (v.57b). However, wherever, without any other priorities. Such is a true follower of Christ.

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