Reflection 30th June 2019

A Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lk: 9: 51-62 (

To be a true follower of any person or of any cause demands a change in one’s attitude and even in one`s way of living.  It is not enough to be a fan and to admire from a distance; one must engage with the person or the cause. 

A good friend of mine is a strong follower of the Irish international soccer team and for many years has attended every match, at home and away, in good times and in bad, singing his favourite song “I’ll go with you wherever you go”.

In today’s Gospel we encounter Jesus teaching his disciples the difference between a true follower and a “would-be follower” of his person and his cause. 

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem where his passion and death will take place. His disciples do not want to accept what is about to happen although Jesus had told them three times that it would. As they went along, a man full of admiration for Jesus wants to follow him.  Jesus warns him that foxes have dens, and that birds have nests but he has no place to lay his head, meaning that the true follower of his must be prepared to endure hardship and suffering.

Another person who was called to follow refuses the invitation offered to preach the gospel. He is simply not ready.  “Let the dead bury the dead, you go and preach the gospel”. Jesus is asking his follower not to put things on the long finger, to be prepared and to always be in a state of readiness to do God’s will. 

The next person called by Christ to follow him is ready and able but asks permission to say farewell to those at home.  Jesus looks at him with love and says, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”.

While it is good to value family and hold them dear, we must not get side-tracked or distracted. Our focus must be on the Leader, our loved one, and on following him.

No matter how many times we’ve delayed responding to God’s call, his invitation stands. Even though we’ve gone our own way, Christ finds us where we are and requests our company on his mission. To become at last his true follower.

Michael O’Looney C.S.Sp.– Fr. Michael ministered in Brazil for over 40 years from 1968. A member of the Kimmage Community, he has served as part of the Province’s safeguarding team.