People have all sorts of excuses for refusing to follow Jesus. It might be family commitments or the ties of home. For some, following Jesus conflicts with their career aspirations or challenges their view of the world.
We fall into denial and the excuse of ‘if/then.’ If/then thinking is deciding not to do something because we assume the ‘then’ happening must take place before we take action. For example, in this weekend's Gospel, the would-be disciples tell Jesus “If I can bury my father, then I can follow You” (Lk 9:59) and “If I can say goodbye to my family, then I can follow You” (Lk 9:61). In the 21st century, we might say something similar like “If the sporting event gets cancelled, then I can go to Mass this weekend” or “If I had a few extra hours in my day, then I can make time to pray” or “If I had a few extra dollars, then I can donate it to the church.”
But Jesus reminds all of us that Christianity is a challenge, and our excuses are just that…excuses. Jesus values God more than safe sleep, more than family events or job obligations, even more than courtesy to relatives and friends. And so should we.
Jesus is clear; He must come first. And while this might seem harsh and “unloving,” Jesus gave everything for us. He laid down His life to rescue us from sin. Should He not expect the same from us?
So be aware of the excuses you give yourself. Take action. Place more value on what really matters and run toward the One who loves you most.
Deborah Gretzinger (no R.E.-Gretz)