13th Sunday in Ordinary time 26/7/2022 Lk 9, 51-62
We do not often reflect on the honesty of Jesus maybe because it is never in question. We welcome the statements Jesus makes about the Love of God for us. We welcome the challenges Jesus presents to us knowing that he is there by our side to help, to pick us up when we fall, to look for us when we lose our way and even when we turn away. But Jesus never pretends that following him and accepting his mission would be easy. The gospel today suggests that Jesus even tries to put people off from following him, telling them that they follow him on his terms not on theirs. He emphasises the difficulties to be encountered. Rather than focus on the difficulties, Macrina Wiederkehr suggests that becoming a follower of Jesus takes time. The apostles and disciples spent about a year with him maybe more before Jesus sent them out. Macrina suggests that growth takes time we have to be shaped and moulded into disciples and followers of Christ in order to best fulfil the mission Jesus gives us just like good wine takes time to mature.
John Henry Newman agrees: . . .there must be no standing still, — there cannot be; time goes slowly, yet surely, from birth to the age of adulthood, and in like manner, our minds, though slowly formed to love Christ, must still be forming. . . . ‘Be not afraid, — it is but a pang now and then, and a struggle; a covenant with your eyes, and a fasting in the wilderness, some calm habitual watchfulness, and the hearty effort to obey, and all will be well. Be not afraid. God is most gracious, and will bring you on by little and little. God does not show you whither He is leading you; you might be frightened you did not see the whole prospect at once. … Follow His plan; look not on anxiously; look down at your present footing "lest it be turned astray," speculate not about the future. I can well believe that you have hopes now, which you cannot give up, and even which support you in your present course. Be it so; whether they will be fulfilled, or not, is in God’s hand.’