Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
June 27th, 2011
Tom Bannantine, S.J.

School of Nursing
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Monday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time
[377] Genesis 18:16-33
Psalm 103:1b-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11
Matthew 8:18-22

Most of us prefer to live an ordered life with a structured schedule and a certain amount of predictability.  But some people have a strong motivation to live a much more unsettled life.  Men and women who serve in the armed forces of their country are like that.  They willingly choose to live an unsettled and dangerous life in order to serve their country and protect its way of life.  Some men and women in religious life embrace a very austere life of hardship in order to better serve almighty God.  And many of us could probably give other like examples.

The gospel reading for today gives one such example.  This reading speaks to the reality of following Jesus.  The charism in the life and words of Jesus was very attractive to those in the crowd who listened carefully to his words and teaching.  They were very much attracted to him and wanted to be his followers.  The scribes in the time of Jesus were educated men who were leaders and teachers in the towns and religious communities of Israel.  That a scribe would desire to become a disciple of and follow the teaching of another was somewhat unusual.  In this case the scribe is paying tribute to Jesus as a great teacher by his desire to become his disciple.  His disciple also attests to the attraction of Jesus by his desire to follow him.  Both of these men are examples of the charism of Jesus.  They both express a desire to follow him everywhere and listen to his preaching and teaching always.  As I read this passage it seems to me that these men saw the following of Jesus as a kind of idyllic life of study and learning.

Jesus, however, knows that those who follow him will not lead an idyllic life.  And so he warns the scribe and the disciple of the realities of a life of following him.  First of all Jesus warns them that those who follow him will lead a life of hardship.  Like Jesus, they will travel about hither and yon as itinerant preachers.  They will not lead a settled life, but rather a difficult and unsettled one.  They will study while on the go, not in a fixed environment.  Their days will not follow a fixed schedule but rather will be determined by the needs of the people among whom they find themselves.  They will go wherever they can attract a crowd.  Their goal will be to preach and to teach.  Secondly Jesus wants these men to know that there is danger as well as hardship in a life of following him.  In the land of Israel there was the danger of the opposition to Jesus and his followers of the chief priests and the leaders of the people.  Elsewhere there was the danger of persecution throughout the Roman Empire.  The deaths by martyrdom of the apostles and many other disciples of Jesus testify to the reality of this danger.  The life of a disciple was a dangerous and difficult one.

So we may well ask: "What made the disciples choose a life like this?"  The answer, of course, is that the disciples chose this difficult life because of their devotion to Jesus.  The scribe and the disciple that we hear about today were like all the other followers of Jesus.  They had learned well his teachings and willingly chose to follow him.  They chose a life of hardship and danger here on earth in the firm belief that such a life would merit them an eternal reward in heaven.  Their desire to follow Jesus everywhere provides us a wonderful example.  Like them we can become followers of  Jesus.  To do so should be our prayer as we read this scripture passage.        

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