As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Today we honor St. Jerome (340-420), the learned priest-monk and Doctor of the Church, for translating the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate). We also honor the fiery and intense scholar as the patron saint of people with difficult personalities.
Speaking of difficult personalities—Jesus certainly doesn’t make discipleship sound easy in our Gospel reading!
And that’s the point: God’s ways often are contrary to our human ways.
Following Jesus is not glorious or comfortable (the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head). In fact, it requires faith (let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead) and dedication (choose Jesus over even the best of human priorities).
Following Jesus requires us to put a hand to the plow and to keep our focus on the future. It may be a hard row to hoe, as the saying goes, but isn’t building the Kingdom of God worth it?
—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Midwest Jesuits, founding editor of JesuitPrayer.Org, and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.
Lord, it’s easy to speak the words, “I want to follow you wherever you go.” But then when we are called upon to sacrifice, to take a risk, to go where we never anticipated, those words are far more difficult to utter. Though our path may be covered in thorns if we say “Yes” to you, we are confident that loyalty to you will bring us an inner security. We also trust that we will realize true success because you are always at our side ultimately leading us to a far better place.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team