Wednesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey
Following Jesus is very demanding. And He knows the only way the demands can be met is by making discipleship most important. (A crucifix implies that.) Jesus does not discount the goodness of family or of the obligation to bury the dead. He is emphasizing the importance of wholehearted giving of self to following Him.
Now we know that the importance has to be experienced for it to influence one’s choices. To be considered important it has to be experienced as making a difference. It makes one spiritually come alive! In other words, the test of whether something is important to a person, and makes a difference in her life is whether or not she does or tires to do something about it. Apart from this experience, Jesus says, the spiritually dead, i.e. those clinging to worldly self-seeking, can bury the like-minded.
If the people in the gospel wanted to follow Jesus, they must have experienced a difference that attracted them. Apparently, though, it did not attract them wholeheartedly. They did not want to do something about it. Other things came first. Jesus is saying one can’t just care about Him and His way of life; one must be committed to it and to that which embodies it. The half-hearted need not apply. The deepest part of the heart, where God abides, must guide the entire heart. Other affections line up behind that for Christ.
This experience of difference and commitment is an experience of the power of God to change hearts.
The short form of this gospel is that we can access this power by remembering “the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery” and by remaining in Him.