This Week's Reflection from Fr. Bob Warren: Will You Keep Plowing?
Will You Keep Plowing?
is obvious from today's gospel that Jesus is not promising us a rose
garden. He cannot even promise His followers a place to lay their heads.
He even seems harsh in His demands of loyalty. His concern is more
for quality rather than quantity. And He will not take excuses. The man
who said "let me bury my father" was, in effect, saying 'I am not yet
ready to give my life to You.' There is no indication that his father
was already dead. In His compassion, Jesus would surely have given the
man time to go to the funeral.
father was probably still alive, and these words only highlight the
urgency of the invitation. You see, in everything, there is a critical
moment. If that moment is missed, the thing most likely will never be
done at all. The man in the story wanted to make changes to follow
Jesus. Now was the time. If he did not seize the moment, he would let
it slip through his fingers.
tell us that every time we have a fine feeling and do not act on it,
the less likely we are to act on it at all. The emotion becomes a
substitute for action. Sometimes we feel we would like to write a
letter, perhaps a letter of sympathy, a letter of thanks or, a letter to
heal a relationship. If we put it off until tomorrow, it will, in all likelihood, never be written.
gospel today tells us that there was nothing eccentric about Christ...
in many ways He was quite ordinary. He was a Jew of His time. He was
born of a Jewish maiden and died five miles from His manger. He came in
His own words, eating and drinking. He came to Cana for a wedding and
to Bethany for a burial. He ate with respectable people like Martha and
with outcasts like Matthew, the tax collector. He felt at home with
everyone, not only with Peter's mother-in-law, but with the Mary who had
seven devils, and the Samaritan woman who had five husbands .
curled up in His arms, and grown men like Nicodemus talked far into the
night with Him. He could grow angry—angry enough to whip money changers
from the temple. He could also sympathize with a widow who had lost
her son. He wept over Jerusalem, and over Lazarus. He knew the thoughts
of shepherds, farmers and fisherman. He spoke the language of His
people. He spoke of war and peace. He worked with His hands. He learned
what hunger and thirst were. He was tired enough to sleep through a
storm in an open boat. He knew what it meant to flee for His life, to be
cursed and spat upon.
Christ was very human. Yet, He was more than human, not simply because
He was God. His life is a living proof that human life can be
thoroughly human, and yet lived on a level above human. In His every
action, whether He came eating and drinking or preaching and praying,
living or dying.
His every action, there shone a love that was not born of man. His life
was a living lesson: Love God with your whole heart; love your neighbor
as yourself. His life, human as it was, was one long act of love that
found its consummation in the Crucifixion—Crucifixion for the objects of
His love. Crucifixion for every human being who has ever come or ever
will come into this world.
His public life, Christ could not be disregarded. And He intended it
so. He intended that every human being who touched the hem of His
garment or looked into His eyes or heard His voice should put a question
to themselves: "Is this for me? Is this the way human life was meant
to be lived? Is this fascinating marriage of the human, and the more
than human, is this what is lacking in my life?"
there, I submit, lies your vocation as Christians. Christians are very
much a part of their world. We work and eat and sleep just like everyone
else. We sorrow and laugh. We are moved to anger and pity. We are
quick to be hurt and maybe a little slower to forgive. We marry or stay
single. We vote as we please.
show very little difference between us and the non-Christians. And yet
there should be a difference, because your life, human as it is, is more
tells us that to be a disciple of Christ, you have to lose your life in
order to find it. I do not know what life it is that Christ is asking
you to surrender. What is keeping you from Him?
do know there are special moments, critical moments in every life
where, to be a Christian you have to choose to commit yourself, to risk
and to have to give up something that rules your life. Something that
takes the place of Christ. It could be anything from material goods to
position and power, honors and glory. The peril is simply that they are
mine and can dominate my existence and manipulate me. Like money, never
enough; more power, never enough. If they do, all else takes second
place, including Christ.
other words, what rules your life? What makes you tick? Who or what
rules your heart? Something does or someone does... or, a dreadful
thought perhaps, nothing does.
gospel, my friends, is heavy metal. Nowhere to lay your head. Do not
look back. Keep plowing. But still, it is good news... glad tidings.
is so good about it? It answers a critical question — How shall I
live? Make sure no person, however deeply loved... no thing, however
precious... pre-empts the place Christ should occupy in your priorities.
Stop trying to fit Christ into your life. Instead, try fitting your
life around Christ, and ask yourself, is this for me?
is a life, thoroughly human and yet more than human. Is this the way
human life was meant to be lived? There is something about the human
spirit that rises to the challenge when asked. The trouble is that we
are not confronted with such challenges very often. So, we drift along
in our self-serving and self-satisfied ways.
God meets us every day with a challenge. If we have eyes to see it and
ears to hear it. He calls for the best in us every day of our lives,
following the One who said, I am the way, the truth and the life.