Today’s gospel is chuck full of Jesus’ wisdom. As we have seen many times, Jesus exaggerates to make his point and as he did close to the end of today’s reading, namely when he told the man who he had just invited to be one of his followers, not to delay in becoming a what we today as a Christian. The man had said, “I’d like to join you but first let me bury my dad first.” Jesus’ answer was, “let the dead bury the dead.” Doesn’t that sound unchristian? Jesus wasn’t saying, that the man shouldn’t ever bury the dead, one of the corporal works of mercy, but rather that at the present time, if he had his priorities correct he was to let that task to others, in that the man had a much more important task to do, that is, be a disciple of mine.
Looking more deeply in the other bits of Jesus’ wisdom in today’s gospel reading we recognize that Jesus is inviting his followers and each of us to follow him with all our hearts. There was to be no half-hearted following, there was to be no turning back to get everything in order before answering God’s call to serve, in our own unique way while realizing that whatever we do, God is to be number one in our lives.
Following Jesus’ wisdom means being willing to forgive and not retaliating like Jesus’ disciples wanted “to call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who refused to welcome them because Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
In addition, following Jesus Wisdom means living in such a way that reflects a person who doesn’t put much stock in material things as when Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.” Trusting that God will provide all of your needs.
All of the Jesus wisdom contained in today’s scriptures and much more, is contained in the commitments we have agreed to at our Baptism, namely to be a Priest: a leader of prayer, to be a Prophet: a reminder of God’s truths and a King: a person who lives God’s truths. For all of us those commitments mean that we are to live a life which reflects the Wisdom of Jesus and is an example to all those around us as how Jesus and the saints would live. A life reflecting the wisdom of Jesus, that is, live a life of love, compassion and forgiveness, patterned after Jesus himself. When we live that kind of life, we are able to exchange our anxiety with trust just as Jesus did many times in his life as he must have done at his “agony in the garden” and as well exchange our desire to be certain about everything with surrender just as did again many times is his life.
How can our lives be anything but great when they are based on the wisdom of Jesus and we have our priorities in the correct order just as Jesus helped the man to do when he told him “let others bury the dead for you currently have a more important task, that is, be a disciple of mine.”?