Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 18:16-33; Matthew 8:18-22)
A novel begins with two soldiers saying “good-bye” to their girlfriends at the train station. Both are going to fight in World War II - one with the army in the Atlantic theatre; the other with the marines in the Pacific. Few would deny the right of their country to conscript such young men into service even if they are about to marry. In the gospel today Jesus claims such a right for himself.
What gives Jesus this authority? The passage hints that Jesus can make a claim upon his followers’ lives because he is the anointed Son of God. This will be expressed outright at the scene of the Transfiguration and again when Peter answers Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Now Jesus indicates his divinity when he makes the otherwise outrageous demand that the disciple not go home to bury his father. No one should doubt that the situation is urgent as Jesus suggests when he states, “…the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” That is, because he must spread his message as far and as fast as possible, he will not sleep in the same bed for very long.
Fortunately we can be present at our parents’ funerals. Yet as followers of Christ we will be called upon to make sacrifices for his sake. Beyond the regular requests to give of our time and treasure parents looking forward to grandchildren may have to bless their children entering the seminary or the convent. Also, any one of us may be called out of our zones of comfort to speak up for the goodness of God in creation and the wisdom of the Church in her teachings in the face of contemporary cynicism and doubt.