As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, a man said to him, «I will follow you wherever you go». Jesus said to him, «Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head». To another Jesus said, «Follow me». But he answered, «Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father». And Jesus said to him, «Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them and proclaim the kingdom of God». Another said to him, «I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family». And Jesus said to him, «Whoever has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God».
All are called to follow Jesus, at the same time all are not called to follow Jesus in a radical way. Though the vocation is open to all and, the grace is generous, we don’t have the same mission. Some are called to be mother or father, while being faithful to Christ, doing exactly what is asked by the Lord. Some are called to follow Jesus in the contemplation and prayer. According to the mission, we are accorded the grace. In all, we are called to search the divine will and execute everything, not only humanly, but also divinely.
There is another part which is very important in this call: the freedom and liberty. Though the call is open to all, but in a different way, according to the need, however our inner will and discernment is always expected. In any case, the Lord will respect our freedom. This freedom does demand certain detachment to attach ourselves to the mission. Inner freedom and the liberty to say YES or No, is the core of this divine call. This call invites us to assume the mission with the responsibility, (which is entrusted to us,) with due respect to our freedom.
This life in Christ doesn’t have an option. Either we are with Him, or without Him. It’s here the radical following demands. Are we with Him and ready to follow Him?
Fr. Lluc TORCAL
Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet
(Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel invites us to mull over the central point of our faith, in a clear and insistent way: the radical following of Jesus. «I will follow you wherever you go» (Lk 9:57). How easily can one suggest something that may completely change a person's life!: «Follow me!» (Lk 9:59). Our Lord's words admitting no excuses, delays, conditions or betrayals...
Christian life demands this radical following of Jesus. Radical, not only because it must be guided, all the way, by the Gospel (hence, to the last days of our life), but, mostly, because all their aspects, from the most extraordinary to the most ordinary ones, want to be and must be the manifestation of the Spirit of Jesus Christ inspiring us. In fact, since the day of our Baptism, our life is no longer that of just any person: we carry with us, in our body, the life of Christ! Because of the Holy Spirit instilled in our hearts, it is no longer us who live, but Jesus Christ who lives within us. This is what the Christian life is like, because it is Christ’s full life, because it exudes Christ from his deepest roots: this is the life we are called to live.
When the Lord came to this world, «all mankind had its place, but He did not have one: He had nowhere to go amongst men (...), but to the barn, amongst the beasts, the animals, and the more innocent and unassuming people. This is why he says: ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’» (St Jerome). The Lord will find his place amongst us, if we, as John the Baptist did, let Him grow while we lessen, that is, if we let grow He who already lives inside us, while being ductile and obedient to his Spirit, the source of all humility and innocence.