“LUKE 9; 51-62” by Fr. Tasang

Discipleship therefore is about following Jesus, calling us to a life in common and in communion with him. The common ground of communion of life with Jesus is: detachment from material things so that one is open and ready, freedom from fear of death, and finally a rejection of any fetters from the past so that one will be open to the event, newness to the initiative and the unforeseen.

Luke 9:51 sets the stage and hints at what is coming. Two points are made; the determined intent of Jesus to go to Jerusalem and that the trip will conclude with his exaltation, the completion of divine purpose. The persistence of Jesus in the final events of his ministry is not to be equated with fate or some unavoidable social force, but a fulfilment of divine plan for the salvation of God’s people. Jesus’ single-mindedness in finishing his task paves the way for the later words to his disciples that they too must not let even plausible distractions deter them from persistent discipleship. Thus, in this verse which clearly foreshadows the mystery of Christ’ death, we have the key to the whole message. The evangelist goes on to consider the conditions necessary in order to be Christ’ disciples, not only just now in the journey to Jerusalem, but also in a definite way in the conduct of daily life.

1. The first condition is patience under trial. James and John thought they should have fire from heaven to deal with the hostile Samaritans. However, Jesus consistent with his teaching of the parables of the darnel, recommends his disciples to allow time
for conversion and development.

2. The second condition is common life with the master. As in all rabbinic schools, this is manifested by the material services which the disciples perform for the rabbi. Christ being an itinerant master above all, common life with him entails discomfort and poverty. The disciples may have to live in the open air, or content with whatever hospitality is offered, something that will train him to share the tragic destiny of the suffering servant.

3. A third condition of the disciple must be his missionary involvement, to which everything else is subordinated. Christ demands from his disciples the severance of ties necessary for proclaiming the kingdom and he brooks no delay.

4. Finally, the disciples must renounce all human ties. Following Christ then becomes really a state of life, of common life which parallels a family life. (Thierry Maertens – Jean Frisque)

Discipleship therefore is about following Jesus, calling us to a life in common and in communion with him. Christianity is not primarily about dogmas and doctrines, not about performing rites and rituals, and not about observing laws and ethical standards. It is about relationship with the person of Jesus. Following Jesus in a sense involves matter of home and social responsibilities. Homelessness is a condition that involves not only physical but social dislocation; one is no longer related to family of origin, but becomes a member of a community of wanderers. Rejecting the sacred obligations to bury one’s parent entails separation from the structures of biological family. Not saying goodbyes and not even looking back, vividly depicts the stark choices to be made. It confronts the family oriented social system that everything revolves around the family. Accommodation to social structures rather than separation from them, divided loyalties rather than single mindedness are most likely the characteristics of modern Christians. These recommendations of Christ seem harsh; it seems to be intended for those who vow to live in poverty and celibacy. Jesus does not intend these for certain states of life; this call is for all. The common ground of communion of life with Jesus is: detachment from material things so that one is open and ready, freedom from fear of death, and finally a rejection of any fetters from the past so that one will be open to the event, newness to the initiative and the unforeseen.

as published on June 30, 2013, Parish Bulletin

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