Living the mysteries of the faith calls us to a radical Christianity. This puts us at unease. After all when we hear of radicals today we think of terrorists, we think of those that kill for an ideal, or commit suicide for that ideal. As Christians killing and suicide are not what our ideal calls us to. And our ideal is not a thought or a philosophy or a mindset, but is a person. Jesus Christ is our ideal. In the Gospel read today from Luke’s 9th Chapter Jesus says, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” This is after he told one potential follower to “let the dead bury the dead”. Christ calls us to put Him first. If He is calling us to follow Him, then all else must fall to the wayside. We must look at our priorities. Family, friends, occupations, desires, temptations can not take precedence over Christ.
Our liturgy itself calls us to this. The Eucharist is the “Source and Summit” of our faith, it is what we must center our lives upon. We know that the Eucharist is Jesus, Himself. When we go to the Eucharist and assist at Mass, we can see the mystical action of the Crucifixion made present on the Altar. The Crucifixion is the greatest mystery of God, that God became man, might take sin upon Himself and die so as to save us. Jesus gives us an example of what it means to follow Him. It is not easy, we must be willing to lay down our lives for Him, and for others. For the Crucifix as presented at Mass is the sign of what Love is. To lay down your life for others. When we hear that we are to love God first and above all else, and then love our neighbor, we can see the way to live this mystery. Be willing to lay down your life for God, and for your neighbor. Laying down your life can take many forms. Jesus told us to take up our cross, but we all know we were not all called to be crucified. So what is this mystery of the cross? It is different for each of us, and yet the same. It is to let God be first and foremost in our lives, and to give up, to cut off, to sacrifice anything that might stand between us and God. In the Gospel today for one person is was his father who had recently died or was near death, for another it was the need to say goodbye to family and friends. Jesus asked them to let go of that and follow Him immediately. In another part of scripture He asks a rich man to sell all he owns. What is in our life that is holding us back from truly following Jesus, from being in that relationship?
Then if we follow Jesus, if we cut those things out of our lives that are preventing us from following Him, we must look to our neighbor. What is keeping us from loving them? What is Jesus asking us to do for them? Remember, that for Jesus, a neighbor was not just a friend. He laid down on the cross for us while we were still enemies to God. The Samaritan in His explanation of who a neighbor was, would have been to most vile person to a Jew of the time. Our neighbor is not just those who live near us, or who we are friends with, but those who do us harm, those who injure us, those who are different then us. What do we do for them? How do we love them, lay down our lives for them? Can we, should we desire their salvation? Bring to prayer how you can truly love all you meet, and ask for guidance to remove those obstacles to living as a radical Christian.