As they went on their way, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said to him, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
Today’s gospel reading introduces a new stage in the life of Jesus. The time has come for him to leave Galilee and to “go up to Jerusalem.” For Jesus, this is the crossing of a threshold, a crucial decision. Committing his whole life: to remain in Galilee is to prolong the easy life of the first successes. It is to give in to the temptation of becoming a temporal Messiah, an idol of the crowd, of “making one’s own life.” To go up resolutely to Jerusalem is to accept concretely the will of the Father, which is that Jesus should surrender in life. It is to break away from the past and to move on into an uncertain future in accordance with the Father’s project. We should not be surprised that, in such a context, Jesus is brought to formulate clearly, even brutally, the evangelical breakups that mark his following in the service of the Kingdom. There are moments, in any Christian’s life as well as in the history of the Church, when it is necessary to break away from past securities, to tear oneself from Galilean tranquility, out of faithfulness to the Lord and to the Lord’s mission.
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