Today’s Gospel: Luke 9, 51-62 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Excuses, excuses. How often have I told the Lord that I will follow him anywhere, but then add all sorts of qualifications? I want to be a disciple, but on my terms. I want to follow, but when it is convenient for me. I will give up anything for you, Lord, but I would like to keep my comfy bed and my gadgets. I will go anywhere, but there must be good WiFi and I don’t want to miss the latest episode of Downton Abbey (or whatever show I am into at the moment.) Oh, and as an introvert I need my quiet time and don’t really want to have to deal with too many people.
I was once told by a spiritual director when I complained about my lack of faith, that it wasn’t faith that I lacked, but the willingness to surrender: surrender control, surrender security based on my own strengths and abilities, and a willingness to step out of my comfort zone and risk failure. I like to play things safe, and worry too much about what others think of me.
To follow Jesus requires a certain amount of courage, to say yes without fully understanding where that yes may lead. To be a disciple requires that we trust Him whom we follow. We must trust that He knows what He is asking of us, and that what He asks is for our good. Today’s readings speak to me of freedom: Jesus will never force us. We have to choose. It reminds me of a quote from St. John Paul II: “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Today, I choose to have the courage to let go of my excuses and follow.
What keeps me from following Jesus completely and unreservedly? What is holding me back? My own fears and insecurities? Worries about what others may think? What am I called to surrender in order to freely follow Christ?
Lord, today help me to surrender control. Let me not be afraid to let go of my pre-conceived ideas and plans and choices, and trust your plans and merciful providence for my life. Teach me to follow without needing to see the entire route mapped out.
Copyright 2016 Marika Donders
Originally from the Netherlands, Marika returned to the faith while in college at Georgia Tech, after which she spent some time in formation with the Daughters of St. Paul. After working in both secular jobs at various universities and church positions working with youth and young adults, Marika is currently the Director of the Office of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Ogdensburg.