MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on “furrows” and what Jesus means by telling people to “bury their own dead” and to “set his face on Jerusalem”? What does a “vocation” mean and what does it have to do with us? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read Luke 9:51-62.#GreatPreaching #Furrow #Luke9 #ServantLeader #Sermons #Homilies
For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/30/2013 The 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 9:51-62
A very dear friend of mine grew up on a farm and was a farmer for 13 years. We were talking about this passage the other day in the context of farming. I think we have all been driving and had something fall on the floor by our feet near the pedals. We can’t leave it on the floor, so we reach to get it away from our feet and the car swerves a little bit. As she was relaying, this is what would happen to the tractor if you looked back while cutting the furrows to plant crops.
The idea of a farm is to maximize the output of crops. To have a gap between furrows could take out a couple of rows of crops. It could cause the entire planting operation to get off track. When you cut furrows, you need to have a single minded intensity to what you are doing. The harvest will be plenty if you keep the main thing, the main thing.
As I have been reading and digesting the Gospel of Luke this year, it has struck me that Jesus has faced a lot of rejection in his ministry. In particular to our passage, there is the rejection of the Samaritans because he “set his face on Jerusalem.” The Samaritans were rejected by the crowd in Jerusalem and had their own temple. The selection of Jerusalem would be seen by them as an affront.
Similarly, the people of Jesus’ own village in Chapter 4 rejected him because they could not accept a message from someone they knew so well. In Chapter 9 for this week, we have a sort of rejection by those who come to him and say, “I want to follow you,” or those who Jesus invites to follow him. All three say, “Wait, I’ll be there in a minute, but let me tend to this worldly life.”
What is the response of our Lord? “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” We might say, “Well, excuse us, Jesus! There is more to life than just doing ministry, thank you.” If we did, we have a failed sense of vocation.
Vocation is that sense of being. It is not an add-on. People do not become priests, deacons, nuns, monks or lay people in ministry because it is “a job.” People do not commit to a life of being single or to getting married and having children because it is an additional thing to do. Whatever vocation you have, it is not just what you do, it is who you are.
For those of us in churches with dominating hierarchical structures, there is a tendency to let people who we think of as “having a vocation” do all the work. It is their job to be holy. It is their job to teach. It is their job to evangelize. If we find ourselves stopping our activity on behalf of Jesus because we haven’t cleared it with the priest, then we MAY be guilty of this. If we do think this is the case, then we have lost all sense of the most important vocation of them all: the vocation to be a Christian.
To be a Christian is to baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is to be valued by God, trusted by God, not to have us under his thumb, but to take his ministry to the world in the way that we live every aspect of our lives. Being baptized is a calling. It is God choosing us, not us choosing God. It is God’s mark upon our lives in a holy anointing like David was anointed to be king.
To have the Christian vocation is a noble and honorable thing. It is to be trusted by God that you will be patient when it would be easier to be irritated. It is to be trusted that you will approach life seeing your spouse as such a valued treasure that you want to live to honor them. The Christian vocation is God trusting you that you will do what is right with his resources, that you will “turn off the lights when you leave.” The Christian vocation is that you will be honest in your dealings in private as much as you are in public. The Christian vocation is God trusting you that you will take his message and love to the least of all people, the poor and the lost. The Christian vocation is that you will not discriminate against others, even those who hate, but will shower them with hospitality and love because they were created in the image and likeness of God, even if they don’t know it.
To have the Christian vocation is to have the waters of your baptism flow through every area of your life so that in every detail you keep the main goal of the kingdom, the main goal of the kingdom. Simply put, to have the Christian vocation of baptism is to have your hand to the plow, strong and secure, planting the seeds of God’s word without looking back to a life that you could have had, but understand that it is not the life you should have, need to have.
So, my friend, what is it going to be for you? Are you going to reject Jesus like the people of Nazareth and Samaria because he didn’t do things the way you thought? Are you going to reject Jesus’ invitation to follow him because the cares of a worldly existence are distracting you from planting the word of God? Or, are you going to accept the anointing you received in baptism and set your face toward Jerusalem, toward completing the task of helping Christ save the world through your every day life?
I know you will choose the latter. You will choose the life of Christ because it sets you free to do great things, touch the lives of many, show the giving spirit of the Almighty, Amazing, Wonderful Counsellor, Loving God. So, what is your plan? How will you start today? Amen? Amen.
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