Grace to you!
Christian discipleship, that is following Jesus, is a wonderful life commitment. One does not follow Jesus on Sunday and leave him behind on Monday. One does not relish the joy of the Lord during the beautiful worship chants in the church, and then wall the experience off during a movie night on Friday.
We read of the encounter between Jesus and two different people in the Gospel of Matthew 8:18-22. The first was a scribe who expressed his wish to be a disciple of Jesus. The Lord replied to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Mt 8:20).
By this, the Lord is showing us that being his disciple entails no rest and security other than that which is centered on him. It means that in the course of following the Lord, we do not have a vacation or a rest other than resting in him. We do not say: “I’m exhausted from following Jesus. I need a nap.” The disciple does not need a nap away from the Lord.
We do not say, just like we say after work that it’s time to go home and rest. Actually, refreshing rest is resting in the Lord. It is not a leave of absence from discipleship. With Jesus, discipleship is commitment for life. Commitment all the way. Commitment every bit of the second.
Similarly, Scripture tells the story of another encounter Jesus had: ‘Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Mt 8:21-22).
Here we see someone who is already a disciple. The Lord isn’t ignoring the holy duty of burying the dead. To bury the dead is one of the seven corporal works of mercy (Others include feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering travelers, visiting the sick and visiting the imprisoned.)
However, the Lord is using the experience to teach us another aspect of the demands of following him. It suggests that nothing, no matter how important it is to us as individuals, should be a priority to following Jesus. Meaning that our good personal, domestic and family commitments are to be aligned to our commitment to Christ.
Basically, there is a connecting message in all of these: The joy of discipleship is in total, ultimate loyalty to the Lord. Such is what true faith-commitment entails. It entails giving our entire life to the Lord. It is ultimate loyalty to the Lord “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Praying that God will give us the grace of following him and willingly letting him be our Lord and Savior all the time. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 13 B: Amos 2:6-10, 13-16; Matthew 8:18-22]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.