Corpus Christi Blog

Trusting God

06-26-2016HomiliesFr. Chad King

Last week’s Gospel presented the all-important question that every must person must answer: “Who do you say Jesus is?”.  And remember also Jesus’ response to Peter’s declaration of faith- If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow me”.

My brothers and sisters, at the heart of the gospel, at the heart of our faith, is the claim that Jesus is the Son of God.  And if Jesus is God become man, then Jesus is everything, the be all and end all.  Jesus is the one to whom a totalizing decision has to be made.  After all, Jesus himself polarizingly declares- “you are either with me or against me”.  We cannot be indifferent to Jesus, either you give your whole life to Him or you should reject him.  There is no middle ground, there is no halfway when it comes to following Jesus.

If we say Jesus is Lord, then we must put Him in the center of our lives; and as the center, He has the right to impact and influence everything else in our lives around Him.  He must be the center, and everything else will fall into place and be ordered rightly.  If anything or anyone else tries to take His central place, it must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and temptation.

Today’s readings, especially this Gospel, is a very good example of this centrality of Jesus.  In this Gospel we will watch as Jesus clarifies for his disciples how the things and pleasures of this world find their value in relation to Him and cannot take the central position.

Jesus and his disciples are making their way to Jerusalem, and this is very important.  Jesus is beginning his journey to the Cross.  Jesus has made his decision to follow the Father’s will all the way to the Cross, and along the way, Jesus never wavers, and teaches his disciples also how not to waver in following Him.

On their journey to Jerusalem, from North to south, they pass through Samaria.  Samaria is where some Jews had married Gentiles and began to worship idols, and so as the Jews see it, they compromised their faith.  Many Jews would go around Samaria if they were going to Jerusalem, but not Jesus.  Jesus goes into and through Samaria.  Because of the political and religious differences between Samaritans and the Jews, they wouldn’t show any hospitality to Jesus or the disciples.  Therefore, in their anger James and John ask, do you want to call down fire from heaven?  They wanted to destroy and annihilate the Samarian race for their differing beliefs, but Jesus doesn’t want their destruction but their conversion.  And so Jesus turned and rebuked them, he rebuked their desire for revenge.  Therefore, Jesus is teaching his disciples and all of us: Following Jesus and his way of love and non-violence is more important than race, country, political beliefs, or even hurt feelings.  Did you hear that? Let me say it again, following Jesus must be the center, following Jesus must be more important than race, country, political beliefs, or anything else.  Again Jesus isn’t saying those things aren’t important, but they must be influenced by Him.

Along the journey, a man approaches Jesus and says- I will follow you wherever you go!  Wonderful, that is exactly what a disciple does.  But Jesus uses this as another teaching moment.  He says, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”.  He has no earthly comforts.  Many years ago, I took a year off from college and as a member of NET ministries, I traveled with other young adults around the country giving retreats to high school teens.  I lived out of a suitcase for an entire year, sleeping in different beds or on a gym floor every night.  Many times, longing for my comfortable bed at home, I chose to give up earthly comforts for a greater good- Jesus Christ and His will for me.  Though it was hard at times, it was so worth it.  Are you willing to be displaced, to give up earthly comforts if He calls you to?  Are you putting any earthly comforts before following Jesus?

To another person, Jesus invites another person to follow him, but he asks if he can first bury his father.  Now obviously Jesus isn’t saying that family or burying a loved one is not important, it is very important.  But again Jesus uses it as a teaching moment.  Jesus says to him, “let the dead bury the dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”.  Obviously the dead can’t bury the dead, they can’t do anything, after all they’re dead!  What Jesus means- let the spiritual dead bury the physical dead.  Let the spiritual dead bury the physical dead.  If we truly believe Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and the Life, if we truly believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, than nothing trumps it.  Our faith, our love for God, should influence everything, including the way we see our family and our perspective on life and death.

Join me in praying, Lord help us to put you in the center of our lives, and help us to trust that everything else will be ordered rightly and that nothing else is more important than following you.