When Jesus Calls You to Service

Luke 9: 57-62
Neh 2:1-8 / Ps 137

No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.
(Luke 9:62)

No ifs or buts, no fear or doubt,
This is what faith is all about.
Be resolute when we aspire
To follow Christ, this He’ll require.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)


Today’s Gospel passage brings to mind the call of Elisha in 1Kings 19:19-21. When the prophet Elijah came upon Elisha, his chosen successor, who was plowing a field with 12 yoke of oxen, and the former threw his cloak over him, Elisha knew he was being called to serve God. There was no time to waste; not even to kiss his parents goodbye. As a sign that he was giving up everything for this new life, he slaughtered his oxen, used his plowing equipment as firewood to cook the meat, and gave a farewell feast to the people he was leaving behind.

Jesus knew what He was going to undergo in Jerusalem, the city of His destiny, but He was “resolutely determined” to undertake the mission that the Father had sent Him to accomplish. Every step that He took towards the ‘Eternal City’ brought Him closer to an excruciating torture and certain death, but “like a lamb being led to its slaughter, our Lord continued boldly on His journey.

The Gospel passage today gives us a clear idea of what it means when we are called to witness for the kingdom of God. The conditions for following our Lord Jesus are absolute, and leave no room for concessions. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, “Stand firm and never submit again to the yoke of slavery (sin)… Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires (that go) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.” (Gal.5:1,16-17)

Keep always before me, Lord, so that I may never be shaken, for in You my heart is glad, my soul rejoices, my body dwells secure. Show me the right path (Psalm 16:9-11) that I may persevere in serving You until the end of this earthly sojourn. Amen.

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