Gospel: Lk 9:57-62
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 the 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.”
Once I was in Dubai. My friend toured me around the UAE. Among the beautiful places he brought me to was Burg Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Before taking the elevator, no one will escape the blue glass marker. On it brightly written are these words; ”The word impossible is not in the leaders‘ dictionary. No matter how big the challenges, strong faith, determination and resolve will overcome them.”
The call to follow Jesus is difficult and hard. Its demands are rigid. No doubt not very many succeed in following Jesus. No doubt the two men in the gospel invited by Jesus did not make it due to the conditions they laid before Jesus. To the other one, after Jesus told him that ”the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” nothing more was heard of him. To follow Jesus faithfully needs what the Sheikh had when he built the tower: strong faith, determination and resolve.
We honor St. Francis today, one of the most popular and loved saints. Against the oppositions of his family and the people and of the trends of his time, he did what he believed is right. He faced the challenges with his strong faith, he was determined and was resolved to follow Jesus. No doubt, St Francis succeeded in his difficult calling and mission.