Jesus Asks for Radical

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Illustration by Br. Martin Erspamer, OSB, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana. Used with permission.

How often do we, like the scribe in today’s Gospel, say to the Lord in prayer: “I will follow you wherever you go”? We may have the best of intentions and mean it with all our heart. But our head—with its logic and practicality and tendency toward fear—wedges itself into the equation and offers a few minor (or major) suggestions and safety nets, just in case. So we hold on to things that ultimately keep us at a distance from God and make it impossible for us to fully follow Jesus where he wants to lead us. We choose reasonable when Jesus asks for radical. We opt for dipping a toe in the spiritual waters when the Gospel calls for total immersion. 

Jesus understands that the Way can be challenging, which is how we get to the apparent non sequitur: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” We might read that line, wonder at its meaning and placement, and simply move on, but it has meaning for us today. If we say that we will follow Jesus wherever he leads, do we understand that it will not be easy, that we too may find ourselves with nowhere to rest our heads? 

We don’t get salvation without sacrifice, without embracing the radical—letting the safety nets drop away and trusting that God is the only security measure we need. 

© Liturgical Press.

Mary DeTurris Poust

Mary DeTurris Poust is a writer, retreat leader, and the author of numerous books on Catholic spirituality. She writes about the spiritual journey on her blog, Not Strictly Spiritual, and in her monthly column, Life Lines. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, Dennis, and their three children.

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