POPE FRANCIS ON THE GENEROSITY AND PROMPTNESS TO FOLLOW GOD’S CALL.
The first character promises Him: “I will follow you wherever you go” (v. 57). Generous! But Jesus responds that the Son of man, unlike the foxes which have dens and the birds which have nests, “has no place to lay his head” (v.58). The absolute poverty of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus left his father’s house and renounced every security to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the lost sheep of His people. In this way Jesus indicated to us, His disciples, that our mission in the world is not to be static, but to be itinerant. The Christian is an itinerant. The Church by nature is in movement, she does not remain sedentary and calm in her own enclosure. She is open to more vast horizons, sent – the Church is sent! – to take the Gospel into the streets and to reach the human and existential peripheries. This is the first character.
The second character Jesus meets receives the calling directly from Him, but responds, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father” (v. 59). It is a legitimate request, founded on the commandment to honour one’s father and mother (see Ex 20: 12). However Jesus replies, “Let the dead bury their own dead” (v. 60). With these words, deliberately provocative, He intends to affirm the primacy of discipleship and of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, even above the most important matters such as the family. The urgency of communicating the Gospel, which breaks the chain of death and inaugurates eternal life, does not permit delays, but requires readiness and availability. So, the Chruch is itinerant, and here the Church is decisive, acts readily, immediately, without waiting.
The third character also wants to follow Jesus, but on one condition: that he does so after going to say farewell to his relatives. And he hears the Master reply: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (v. 62). Following Jesus excludes regrets and looking back, but requires the virtue of decision.
May the Virgin Mary, icon of the outbound Church, help us to follow with joy the Lord Jesus and to announce to our brothers, with renewed love, the Good News of salvation.