13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 30, 2013 4:00pm, 10:30am, 12 noon
Saint Margaret Parish, Bel Air
For a long time, I have used the word journey to express what my life is all about.
I am not sure when I came upon this theme, but I am almost certain it came to me from Saint Luke’s Gospel. In today’s passage, Luke says that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”
Luke sees Jesus’ entire ministry as a journey to Jerusalem. For Jesus, this was a geographical journey, but it is also symbolic of a spiritual journey that I and all of us are on.
Each day is another step in the journey – with Jesus, and back to God. It is a journey with new opportunities and new challenges always coming up.
Seeing my life as a journey also helps me to see myself as on the way and not yet there, in other words, as human and imperfect and in need of growth. So the theme of journey is very powerful for me.
Virtues for the Journey
Now, in today’s gospel passage, we see some of the traits that Jesus calls us to have for the journey of life.
It is important for us to understand correctly what Jesus means here. These traits emerge in Jesus’ response to some people who want to follow him on his journey.
1. Go Beyond Comfort Zone
One person says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus responds, “Foxes and birds have places to stay, but I do not.”
Jesus is saying that sometimes following him won’t be very comfortable. Sometimes we will have to push ourselves and go out of our comfort zone.
For example, maybe we’ll have to swallow hard, eat our pride and admit we made a mistake and ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, if we are going to journey with Jesus, we’ll have to go out of our comfort zone.
2. Do Good Now
Someone else says that he’ll follow Jesus but wants to go and bury his father first. Jesus bluntly says, “Let the dead bury their dead.”
Scripture scholars tell us that from the original wording here, this man’s father was not dead and not even dying. The man was just saying that he’d follow Jesus but not now, sometime later on in his life.
Jesus’ point is that, for example, if we feel drawn to write a note expressing our appreciation and love to our parents or children or spouse or close friend, do it now and don’t put it off. If we are going to journey with Jesus, do right now the good things that we feel drawn to do.
3. Look Ahead
Then someone else says that he’ll follow Jesus, but he first wants to say good-bye to his family. That seems okay, but Jesus says that if you’re plowing a field and look back over your shoulder, that’s no good.
The idea is that if you are preparing rows for planting corn, the rows won’t be straight if you’re looking behind yourself. Jesus’ point is to look ahead and live in the present and not in the past.
Don’t wistfully yearn for the good old days and don’t be bogged down in past hurts and mistakes and failures. If we are going to journey with Jesus, look ahead and make the most of today’s opportunities.
4. Be Respectful
Finally, in this passage the residents in the area of Samaria have shut their doors and their minds to the apostles. The apostles are angry and want to pray that God will strike their town with lightning and burn it down.
And Jesus says – No, No, No. Jesus is respectful and caring even of those who disagree and he wants us to be the same.
For example, we may strongly disagree with others about one of the Supreme Court’s decisions this week on affirmative action or voting rights or same-gender marriage. But if we are going to journey with Jesus, we are to be respectful and caring no matter what.
So, all of this from the word journey and seeing our life as a journey with Jesus and back to God!