My mouth often precedes my brain. In other words, I often speak without thinking. Worse yet, I more often speak without praying. This can be dangerous, as I have found over and over again in my life. In the first reading today from Nehemiah, we see a man who exhibited great wisdom. Nehemiah wanted to go back to his homeland and rebuild the city of Judah. But before he asked this request of the king, he prayed. He asked God to give him the words and be with him. And the king granted his wish.
In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 9, we hear what can be a rather disconcerting saying of Jesus. A guy says he will follow Jesus, but first he wants to go and bury his father. Jesus responds, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Another guy wants to follow Jesus, but first just wants to say goodbye to his family. Jesus tells him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Can’t bury my dad? Can’t even say goodbye to my family? What was Jesus thinking here?
Jesus’ words go back to the concept of old vs. new. Think of an addict. (Poor analogy, perhaps, I know.) When an addict commits to getting clean, they cannot go back to the old neighborhood and start hanging with their old addict pals again. They must now move forward with their lives. Leave the old behind, never look back and get on to bigger and better things. Same for us. Once we commit our lives to Christ, we must move forward, press on. So how about it? Are you ready to set your hand to the plow today?
Father, thank you for giving us the opportunity to set our hand to the plow and work for the Kingdom. Give us the strength and courage to never look back. Amen.