Jesus comes down from the Mount of Transfiguration and tells his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” The disciples did not understand what it meant and were afraid to ask. It is about like the doctor diagnosing my husband’s Parkinson’s disease. Hospice came in and the nurse looked me in the eye and said, “It is a terminal disease and we will walk with you on this journey.” We know we will die some day…but not soon hopefully. We do not want to hear that diagnosis! The disciples were coming to believe Jesus was the Messiah but they still were thinking of freedom from Rome, not freedom from death.
Three men come to Jesus in the reading today and try to bargain with Jesus about their discipleship. One wants to bury his father first and then he will follow Jesus. Another wants to return home and have a farewell party with his family. Another is told point blank that this person will only be able to claim heaven as home, not any home in this world permanently. We all have our excuses for following …later we think. We all have our fears…God may ask me to be a missionary, to love my enemy, or to give away my money. We all have our fears, excuses and “complications” that make tomorrow a more convenient time to follow Jesus.
The first temptation Jesus had after his baptism and forty days of fasting in the wilderness was to turn a stone into bread. The call to self centeredness is always there. We want to follow our agenda rather than God’s agenda. During Lent we will continue to follow Jesus for 40 days but may we be aware of our own temptations to deny that we have a “terminal diagnosis!” We need to take this journey!
Our prayer for today, “Pray this Latin American prayer at mealtime: ‘To those who hunger give bread, and to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice.’” Blessings on you face into the journey of Lent to Easter!