Things to Ponder
I use this page to share messages of an inspirational nature, or simply something to ponder. It is my hope that you will always be inspired.
Homily Reflections - Gospel of Luke 9:51-62
Introduction: Where is Your Journey Leading You?
This Sunday’s Gospel now continues our longest liturgical season called “Ordinary Time.” (Ordinary Time is divided into two sections: from the first of the year to the beginning of Lent; and then from the conclusion of the Easter Season to the beginning of the Advent Season.) In this passage, Luke begins a long section that describes Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the major events along the way.
In all three Synoptic accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke), Jesus only makes one trip to Jerusalem – a journey that ends in his passion, death, and resurrection. "Luke is the only evangelist, however, to magnify Jerusalem’s theological purpose. It is not merely a physical journey, for it is the crucible into which Jesus’ whole earthly ministry is funneled. Jerusalem becomes the city of destiny.” – New Collegeville Bible Commentary.
Recall a recent journey you took. What did you see along the way? Did you return a different person?
For Luke, Jesus’ ministry begins in Galilee and then is one long (often times - controversial and
conflicted) journey uphill to Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem is over 2700 feet above sea level and the Sea of Galilee is 300 feet below, he and his disciples must climb the Judean mountains to reach the city.
Recall a time when you experienced a difficult, uphill personal journey. How did you deal with it?
Luke’s detail about Jesus passing through the Samaritan villages along the way raises some
questions. For Jews in Galilee would avoid passing through Samaria as they made their way to the city since there was great—and often bitter—animosity and cultural and religious differences between Samaritans and Judeans. Perhaps, this short foray into Samaria signals Jesus’ own desire to break down barriers and be a bridge-builder?
Name a time when you went out of your way to open yourself to another person different from you.
The rest of this Gospel dramatically highlights the radical demands of discipleship. Luke focuses upon three people who volunteer to become disciples on this journey – but sadly do not really grasp the demands Jesus will make of them. Neither care of self, care for the dead, nor care of one’s family can come before the demands of discipleship.
Jesus seems harsh here, but he is only asking of his disciples what he asks of himself. Jesus does not want us to rush into discipleship, because the demands of discipleship require everyone considering it to be aware of the cost. The passage concludes with this warning: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Where is God calling you to go? Are you resolute?
I would invite you to take time to read and ponder the words from the Gospel of Luke 9:51-62.
What word or words caught you attention? What in this passage comforted/challenged you?
Further Questions and Reflections:
This passage contains some very harsh statements. Jesus’ response to these three would-be followers is that—before deciding to follow Jesus—they should first count the cost. What “costs” have you experienced in your walk of faith?
Lord Jesus, you were not distracted by the many setbacks placed before you on your own journey. Ignite in me the flame of a steadfast spirit so that I may follow you to the end. Identify major setbacks you have experienced. How did you handle them?
Prayer: “I ask for the grace to let go of my own concerns and be open to what God is asking of me, to let myself be guided and formed by my loving Creator.” How open are you?
Regardless of his fears and anxieties, Jesus was determined to journey to Jerusalem, his divine
destiny, the goal of his mission and life.
What prevents you from living out your call?
Deacon David Suley
St. Patrick Catholic Church
Published with Permission