Today’s post is a homily that Fr. Michael Schleupner shared on Sunday and we think it’s a perfect fit for our blog today. We’re also looking forward to welcoming Fr. Michael back to the Center in a few weeks for our July Directed Retreat, where he will be personally leading a small group of retreat guests on their spiritual journey. Let’s reflect on his insights from Scripture that can be applied in three steps within on our own journeys.
In this gospel passage, Saint Luke uses the word “journey” four times. Luke apparently is trying to make a point. He sees Jesus’ entire ministry as a journey to Jerusalem. For Jesus, this was both a geographical and a spiritual journey. Jesus was literally traveling from Galilee in the north to Jerusalem in the south – a trip of about ninety-two miles and he was probably walking.
But Jesus was also on a spiritual journey, a mission for us. Saint Luke wants us to know that Jesus’ journey is symbolic of a spiritual journey that each one of us is on. Each day is another step in our journey with Jesus. It is a journey with new opportunities and new challenges always coming up.
Seeing my life as a journey helps me to see myself as on the way, not yet there, in other words, as human, imperfect, in need of growth. So, the theme of journey is significant.
Virtues for the Journey
Now, in this gospel passage, we see some of the traits that Jesus calls us to have for the journey of life. These traits emerge in Jesus’ response to some people who want to follow him. We need to understand Jesus’ responses carefully because they may seem kind of blunt and callous.
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 beyond our comfort zone. So, maybe we’ll have to swallow our pride, admit a mistake, and ask for forgiveness. Or maybe we’ll have to open our minds and be willing to think differently about something.
The point: if we are going to journey with Jesus, sometimes we’ll have to go beyond our comfort zone.
2. Do Good Now
Then, someone says that he’ll follow Jesus, but first he wants to go and bury his father. 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 was not even dying. Instead, this man’s words were an expression of the day, and he was just saying that he’d follow Jesus but not now, sometime later on.
Jesus’ response is that if we are drawn to do something good, do it now and don’t put it off. So, if we feel drawn to send a note expressing our appreciation or love to our parents or children or wife or husband, just do it.
The point: 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. Here Jesus says that if you’re plowing a field and look back over your shoulder, that’s no good. Jesus is using a farming image. His idea is that if you are planting rows of corn, the rows won’t be straight if you’re looking over your shoulder and behind yourself.
Jesus doesn’t want us to get stuck in the past but live in the present and for the future. So, don’t be bogged down in past hurts or in past mistakes or in regrets about the past.
The point: if we are going to journey with Jesus, look ahead and make the most of today’s opportunities.
So, three lessons or points for doing our journey of life with Jesus:
1) Go beyond our comfort zone.
2) Do good now.
3) Look ahead.
~ Fr. Michael Schleupner
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