The Gospel reading is about following Jesus. He gives three important reminders: first, there is no
guarantee of earthly comfort and luxury. This is what he meant when he said: “Foxes have dens, birds
in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Jesus never said that
following him is a leisurely walk with him. Rather, he said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.”
It is never easy. It always entails hard work, sacrifices and trials. But he said, “He who perseveres till
the end will reap the reward of everlasting life.” Following Jesus demands that we transfer our sense
of security from earthly things to the Lord. Anyone prepared to answer the call must be prepared to
deny himself, pick up his cross daily and follow Jesus. Following Jesus means that we have to trust
him instead of putting our trust in our money and in human powers and worldly resources. This is an
invitation to shift our focus from the material to the spiritual, from the visible to the invisible, from
man to God.

Second, Jesus demands immediate and unconditional response to his call. He even said, “Let the dead
bury their dead.” Following Jesus needs a firm and resolute decision on our part without conditions
and hesitation. When Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead”, he was not being disrespectful of the
dead, but was only teaching the lesson on how to adequately respond to his call. This means that
having accepted the call to follow him, one’s primary responsibility is to God alone. We are not in a
position to set conditions in following Jesus. He is the Lord, and he is the one who sets the
conditions. Our task is just to follow him without questions, conditions and hesitations.

Third, he warns his followers about the seriousness of the tasks and challenges ahead. So he used the
image of the man who has his hand on the plow, must be focused on what he is doing. Jesus calls us
to be totally committed to him without “Looking back”. Unlike the rich man who refused to let go
of his possessions we must freely discard all the forces, distractions, and obstacles that prevent us
from keeping a healthy relationship with him. Elisha left everything – he slaughtered his oxen and
burned his farm implements to boil the meat, and then gave it to the people to eat. Then he left and
followed the prophet Elijah. His action was swift, firm and steadfast in response to the call to serve
the Lord. 

By Deacon Mar Tano