July 1, 2019

Gospel MT 8:18-22
When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”
Reflection:
Today’s gospel tell us of two disciples. The first one mentioned is a “scribe,” a person who interprets religious law. The second person is simply referred to as a disciple (a student and follower) of Jesus.
When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
In today’s gospel Jesus “orders” His followers to “cross the lake.”
The scribe firmly expressed his intention to follow Jesus. But, we don’t know if he actually followed him or not.
If someone asked me, “If Jesus personally gave you an order to do something, would you obey Him?”
My answer would be much the same as the scribe in today’s gospel.
I too would say, Yes, of course Lord, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
But, as well intentioned as my answer may be, the truth is that I often choose not to do any number of things that Jesus directs me to do.
Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek.” But at times, instead of turning the other cheek, I become defensive and argumentative.
Jesus says, “Do not judge.” But, at times I have held back from giving money to a healthy looking young person holding a “Help Me” sign who appears to be capable of finding work.
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”
Even though the disciple’s desire to “go first and bury my father” was a good and honorable intention, by doing so he was putting his desire to follow Jesus on hold.
On a daily basis, I also put the Lord on hold. Sometimes I put Jesus on hold for what I consider to be an important matter, and sometimes I put Jesus on hold simply because I’m lazy.
The hard truth is, I am an imperfect follower of Jesus. My spirit is willing but, like many of Jesus’ followers over the ages, my actions are often pretty weak.
Thankfully, Jesus does not expect perfection.
In dealing with the twelve Apostles, Jesus clearly saw that they were a combination of good intentions and human weakness. In spite of Peter’s denial, John and James’ arguing over who was to sit at His right and left hand, and Judas’ betrayal, Jesus loved them anyway.
Jesus also sees us as we are and He still loves us, warts and all, just as He loved the Apostles, warts and all.
God’s love and mercy is freely given by Him to each of us. It cannot be earned and it is not given because we deserve it or withheld because we don’t deserve it.
God loves us because it is the very nature of God to love. He does not shut His love off and on like a light switch, based on our behavior.
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8