Am I a Follower?

Am I a Follower? July 1, 2013

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“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.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.” 
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” 
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. 
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-62, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Yesterday morning I sat praying for Mass, filled with emotion. This is one of those seasons when life feels as though it’s in a state of flux. So much transition in our home and family life — as well as in the world around me — causes me to ponder the life I’m living. This week’s gospel passage from Luke fed into my introspection. In it, we find Christ setting such a seemingly high bar for his followers. In this one passage alone, we find him spelling out three descriptions of what it meant to “follow” him.

  • The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head
  • Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God
  • No one who set a hand to the plow and looks to what is left behind is fit for the kingdom of God

Looking at myself, I asked, “Am I a true follower?” My thoughts turned to my responses to those “follower” bullet points above:

  • I definitely have a place to rest my head — my home. While I like to think I’m not driven by worldly or material possessions, I lead a comfortable existence.
  • Do I stop to “bury my dead”? In the sense of my life as a wife and mom, my family definitely comes first.
  • I often look to what is “left behind” — all too often, I spend time assessing results, perceptions, “wins” and “losses”.

Do those three personal responses mean I’m not a true follower? The jury’s obviously still out. They do give me my “marching orders” for how to strive to live more completely as a follower in the context of my life (the one God’s granted me):

  • I need to focus more completely on sharing the Good News within my primary mission field: my home.
  • I need to place a greater priority on providing material comfort to others in my community who are truly in need — resources I am tempted to spend on creature comforts can definitely be re-allocated to help provide food, shelter, clothing, and most especially love to those who all too often are lacking even the most basic needs.
  • I must more energetically divert the attention I pay to “self assessment” towards real action.

This week, I will be praying about how to be a more faith-filled follower of Jesus Christ.

A question for you: How would you answer the question, “Am I a follower?”

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  • Ginny

    Such a challenging Gospel reading, isn’t it? I appreciate your post — you break it down so helpfully. I think this is a lifelong process, honestly — and I am always encouraged to know that God loves the “current” me, the sometimes-struggling-and-petty me, without reservation. There is such comfort in that.

  • Jay Cuasay

    In reflecting upon this Sunday’s Readings I saw them in general as a reflection of our frenzied culture of multi-tasking. We are much too busy at being busy and in that sense, I remember well running around with no rest and no place to rest.
    The Jews have a saying: If you are planting a tree and hear that the Messiah is coming, first plant the tree and then go and see. On the other hand, the Persians have a saying, if you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth.
    For me, Luke’s Gospel is insisting (as it will in the story to come about Mary and Martha) that there is something radically different when you truly experience the Reign of God/In-breaking of God’s presence in the here and now. It is not a time to be concerned about rest, the dead will not draw us away, we will not think of Good-byes and of what is left behind.
    Am I follower? I am definitely a seeker of the Reign of God and a minister called to live a life that both proclaims that in-breaking and points to it being ushered in. In my own life as a Catholic married to a Jew, I’ve often thought of that “Kingdom” in this way: “If the Kingdom were to come and my wife were not a part of it, then I wouldn’t want to be there either.” Thus, my life now is to live out our marriage in such a way that God’s presence can be seen as real.