Today’s Gospel reading tells us of how the earthly life of Jesus was one long journey from Galilee where he began his ministry to Jerusalem where he was crucified.
During this journey, Jesus is met with rejection, a Samaritan village will not receive him, he was also rejected in Galilee where he began his ministry.
Despite all the rejections and the knowledge of his impending death, Jesus sticks to the path that the Father has chosen for him.
By this, Jesus gives us an example of how discipleship means treading on the path that God has chosen for each of us.
Jesus does not want anyone to rush into this kind of discipleship, because the demands of being a disciple require that we first be aware of the cost.
By our baptism we have chosen to be followers of Christ, as his followers we can ask ourselves: Are we really following Christ during the twenty-four hours of every day of our lives? Are our eyes always fixed on the true future which awaits us? Are we prepared to plough a straight furrow no matter what snags or obstacles may be in our way? How many of us can answer “yes, we are,” to these pointed questions?
We sometimes have excuses like: ‘We are tied down by family and a hundred other earthly cares. Our days, our weeks, our years can be so fully occupied that we often find it hard to spare even an hour on a Sunday to give to God.
This shows a misunderstanding of what Christ demands of us. He knows that his followers must live in this world and must, for the most part, struggle to earn a living for themselves. But it is by living this earthly life properly, by being loyal to spouse and family, by earning one’s living honestly, by living not only peacefully but helpfully with one’s neighbour, that we are living our discipleship as true followers of Christ.
The person who keeps to the path while working their way through this life, is a true follower of Christ and is on the road to heaven and they are ploughing a straight furrow, because they never go off the path chosen for them by God.
We may not have much time for prayer, and each morning we may rush off to work. But God understands half-sentences and even single words. At night we need recreation and relaxation, and God does not expect long prayers from us. If we have worked honestly and have given good example to others, we have indeed honoured God that in itself is our prayer.
Before lying down to sleep at night, giving a few words of thanks to God, making a request for pardon for the mistakes made since morning, will give such a person peaceful rest, knowing that they have nothing to fear because they have asked pardon from the Lord for looking back or diverting from the journey set out for them.
If we only realized how reasonable God’s demands are, and how every demand he makes on us is for our own benefit and not his, we would be a little more generous in our response to his call.
Yes, all of us could do a lot more to give an example to the world as Christ himself did, that we are true disciples of Christ, following him gladly and honestly. We are never looking back while ploughing our Christian furrow.
Fr George Carlos