Wednesday of the Twenty-SixthWeek in Ordinary Time
The three rejected for the mission
As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” (To him) Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Lk 9,57-62
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, a journey which will last more than two months. From the crowds which followed him around the lake of Tiberias in the first phase of his mission, the apostles and a few other disciples are with him. More crowds and more meetings expect him and especially the cross of the Calvary awaits. It is in this context and with such prospects that Jesus is approached by three characters animated by good intentions, but without the conditions to accompany the Master on that trip adventure. The life of the mission, at that time as now, requires a willingness to donate its entire life, an action which may be made only on three conditions: a clear call, a conscious and decisive break from the past, a firm will to persevere to go up to the completion, whatever the cost could be. Emotional candidatures and external pressures, uncluding from family members, are not allowed. Being missionaries means to walk with the feet on the street with the heart addressed to the goal. The first character is a self-candidate who presented himself to Jesus because of an intuition on the fascination of that adventure. He takes the initiative and presented himself. The implicit answer of Jesus seems to be: “Do you even know what it means to come after me?”. It means leaving the earth as a place of rest and security, considering it only a place to walk: to follow someone who does not know where to lay down his head on the evening can only take place upon a clear call . The second character was called “Follow me”. But he does not give a clean break with the past as a signal that he is going to put in practice the new dimension of the life which is offered. To follow Jesus means to resize everything, even the cult of the death which, in the dynamics of the Kingdom, will be replaced by the raising up in the communion of the saints. On the third character we do not know whether he is a called one or a self-candidate, but he has some hesitation due to the respect of the human conveniences: “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home”. But Jesus answered: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God”. You cannot follow Jesus in a new way with old behaviors: “Do not put new wine into old wineskins” (Mt. 9,17). The gospel of today has to cause Giamluca to ponder on his missionary call.