In the Gospel this Sunday, St. Luke records that Jesus sets out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-62). Jesus was urgent to go to Jerusalem to accomplish his salvific plan – namely his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Jesus was urgent to save humanity from the forces of evil and to express his ultimate love for humanity on the Cross. Thus, Jesus wasted no time in marking around the Samaritan village to attract the attention of the people that James and John had suggested to him by calling down the fire from heaven to burn up the village. Interiorly and externally, Jesus was filled with zeal and love for our humanity.
St. Luke also portrays that Jesus did not allow his disciples to compromise with their excuses in following him in his saving mission wholeheartedly. By saying, ‘foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,’ Jesus directed the disciples that different from other creatures on earth, human beings’ true home of rest is in heaven. For this reason, as disciples of Christ, we are not to build a false utopia on earth, because earthly attachments will blind us from enjoying the true joy of heaven. Moreover, the urgency of the coming of God’s kingdom outweighs our bodily and earthly needs. Perhaps one of the most intrinsic points in today’s Gospel is the counter-cultural of Jesus’ demands, for burying a dead father was regarded as a sacred duty, and yet not even this may stand in the way of a response to the call of Jesus.
In short, as the disciples of the Risen Lord in today’s context, we also need determination and perseverance to follow Jesus along the way of the Cross. At times we are tempted to look for excuses to turn back from following Jesus or to slow down in growing in holiness. May the Lord free us from such temptations that we may journey with him through suffering and death to the glory of the resurrection.
Fr. Tien Cao