Immediately Jesus is met with rejection, as a Samaritan village will not receive him because he is going to Jerusalem. There was animosity between Samaritans who worshiped on Mount Gerazim and Jews who worshiped in Jerusalem. Jesus was also rejected as he began his ministry in Galilee in Chapter 4. And he will be rejected for the last time when he reaches Jerusalem. James and John want to call down fire from heaven to destroy the people in the village, but Jesus rebukes them and moves on. There is often the temptation to use violence to achieve right. Jesus has come to break this temptation. He is aware that he must undergo violence himself before he can enter his glory.
The rest of today's reading is about the radical demands of discipleship. The three people who volunteer to become disciples on this journey show that they do not understand the demands Jesus will make of them. Neither care of self, care for the dead, nor care of one's family (as required by the Fourth Commandment) can come before the demands of discipleship. Jesus reminds the first volunteer, who would go wherever Jesus goes, that animals in the wild have more security than do Jesus and his followers. The second, who wants to bury a parent, is reminded that the demands of proclaiming the Kingdom of God take precedence. And the third, who wants to say farewell to his family, is reminded that once you put your hand to the plow you cannot look back or the furrow will be crooked. Such a person is not ready for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus seems harsh here, but he is only asking of his disciples what he asks of himself. Jesus' unconditional commitment to God's saving work will demand of him his life. He knows this, but the disciples do not understand. Jesus does not want anyone to rush into discipleship, because the demands of discipleship require everyone considering it to be aware of the cost, make Jesus and his mission central to his life, and then go forward without looking back. [Loyola Press - Sunday Connection]
Reflect below on following Jesus in this weekend's gospel.
- Prayer helps us to hear God’s whispering words of love, encouragement and Jesus’ invitation to follow him. As a family, talk about those things that get in the way of taking time out for prayer each day.
- Ask each member of the family what they would like to be when they are older and why that particular field interests them. Talk about college or other training they will need to accomplish their goal and what they can start doing now as the first steps toward that goal. Talk about how prayer will pay a role in their choices.
- By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to be followers of Jesus. Have the family recall events from the past year that reminded each of you of your baptismal call to follow Jesus. As a family, evaluate how you did during that event and what you could have done differently to show your commitment to following Jesus.
- Jesus freely offered his life to show us his love for God and us. Have a family discussion about what you are willing to do this week to show Jesus you love him.