CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO!
Sunday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time ©
My dear encountered couples:
Jesus is traveling on his way from the North to the city of Jerusalem to suffer, die, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven to open the gates of paradise for us. He has determination, zeal and vigor to get to Jerusalem so that he can accomplish all the Father asked him to do. Still, he is gentle as he refuses to call down fire on those who wouldn't let him go through their country to get to Jerusalem.
In today's gospel, Jesus gives 3 one-liners to encourage us to have determination, zeal and vigor in living our vocation. These 3 one-liners can be applied to a young person desiring to become a priest or nun. They also apply to a single person, to someone who wants to get married, or to someone who has already received the sacrament of matrimony. Let’s concentrate on this last situation since most of you are married.
First, “The foxes have lairs, the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
As married couples, you don't need the comforts of earth in order to follow Jesus. Jesus is God and the entire universe belongs to him, yet he doesn't have a place to call home on earth. Most marriages start in relative poverty. A newly married could say, “I had it better at my father's house. We had a better apartment, home, car, TV, etc. before I married you!” Marriage is a calling from God. It costs us something to follow Jesus. This life is not heaven. You are not in paradise. You may expect to do without from time to time as Jesus proves to you that you don't need the goods of earth to get to heaven.
Second, “Let me bury my father first.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; come away and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Love those who are presently spiritually dead, but you have to proclaim the kingdom of God by the way you live; by the way you live your married life.
When you receive the sacrament of matrimony, you start a new family and at the same time become part of a larger family of relatives and in-laws. The larger family may have a black sheep or a few skeletons in the closet. Jesus didn't convert everyone he met and nether can you.
You can exercise the two powers God gave you: to LOVE and FORGIVE one another. This is the way God draws you to himself. That is the way you attempt to draw others to the Lord. By loving and forgiving them. But your first job is to be sure you yourselves are on the way to heaven. If others don't want to come along, you give them your good example anyway.
Third, “I will be your follower, Lord, but first let me take leave of my people at home.” Jesus answered him, “Whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for the reign of God.”
By looking back, Jesus means one who takes up a vocation but continues to wish they were doing something else. The married woman might wish she were married to someone else or the married man may wish he were single again ... Etc.
Jesus wants you to serve him in your vocation with determination. Your vocation, your marriage partner is your key to getting into heaven. You are to live your calling from God with determination, zeal and vigor.