Wholehearted “Yes”

Homily for Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time

This morning’s Gospel is Matthew’s equivalent to what we heard from Luke yesterday. It again shows us that sometimes there is a hesitancy within us when the Lord is asking us to follow Him. At times we’re afraid of what that might mean; or maybe we’re not sure we have the gifts that we need to make that commitment; or maybe we feel like there is a sin that we need to overcome first…whatever the reason might be, sometimes we just don’t feel like we can follow the Lord wholeheartedly. That’s exactly what Jesus is pointing out to these two individuals in our Gospel.

The first one wanted to follow the Lord. He comes to Jesus and he says that he will go wherever the Lord goes. There was a desire on this man’s heart to truly be a disciple. And the Lord’s response might be a little puzzling. This “foxes have dens” and “birds have nests” line reveals something about how Jesus sees into the deep recesses of our hearts. He was able to see that there was something in this man’s heart that was preventing him from making that wholehearted commitment to discipleship. There was no place for Jesus to place his head in this man’s heart is essentially what the Lord was saying. He would have never been able to meet the demands that discipleship places on a person.

In the second instance, Jesus asks the person to follow Him but he isn’t ready to do so. He wants to go bury his father first. What we don’t know are the details surrounding this guy’s father. He could have been at the beginning stages of a prolonged illness that would take years to reach its end, or he could be in his final days. We don’t really know. But Jesus did…hence His response. Deep down, the Lord knew that this man was using that as an excuse to not commit to being a disciple of Jesus.

Where are we? What is in our hearts that might be preventing us from following Jesus? There may be a desire on our hearts to be a disciple, but is there something within that is preventing us from committing to that completely? Today, let’s ask the Lord to reveal to us the areas of our hearts that are stopping us from giving that wholehearted “yes” to Him. What’s stopping us from giving total dedication to that mission of being His disciple? Jesus wants to heal that area of our hearts so that we can commit to Him fully, because, ultimately, that’s what is going to bring us to the fullness of life.

Lord, come into our hearts today. Show us where we need You. Increase our love for you and help us to be the best disciples we can be.

Photo: Josh Applegate. Used with permission under Unsplash license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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