THEME: THE CALL OF CHRIST TO DISCIPLESHIP (1 Kings 19:16, 19-21; Galatians. 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62)
Our Lord made discipleship hard, because he called his disciples to a pilgrimage, not a parade. Following God can really be challenging and risky. God asks us his disciples to put him first, even before the most demanding family ties. Our Lord demands abandonment of oneself and surrendering completely to him. To be a disciple, it demands a letting go. The different people who responded to the call of God in the bible had to let go of something. A typical example is Abraham who was asked to let go of his father and his country for a place that was yet unknown.
In the story of the call of Elisha, we also see the attitude of letting go for God. In responding to the call of God, Elisha demonstrated a total commitment to his call. Elisha demonstrated his total commitment in a dramatic way. He slaughtered his oxen, kissed his parents and bade farewell to his people. The slaughtering of his oxen, the kissing of his parents and the bidding of farewell to his people, were all symbolic gestures that he had freely accepted the call of God. It showed that, like his ancestor, Abraham, he has let go of everything to follow God. He submitted wholly and entirely to God. It was a sign of total submission to the will, and call of God over his own will. His business became to do the will of God and to love God more than himself. Elisha, by these gestures, teaches us that service to God involves sacrifice. It involves letting go.
In the same way, Jesus explains the cost of discipleship to those who wanted to follow him. Following Jesus requires loyalty, which entails putting personal comfort aside. It demands detachment from the worldly possessions; self-giving. A would-be disciple wanted to bury his father first. That does not necessarily mean his father was already dead. It can mean taking care of his father until death. The response of Jesus does not mean that we should not take care of others, especially aged parents. But he emphasized the primacy of the service of God by a disciple. God is to be loved and served before and above all else. The response of Jesus was radical just as his life was radical. He had nowhere to lay his head.
Jesus exemplifies what radical discipleship means. He invites us his followers to give God an undivided attention and unalloyed loyalty. He invites us to let go, to give up, all the forces that hinder our loyalty to God; our submission to God. The young men who wished to follow him were not ready to make the sacrifice involved. They had “genuine intentions as well as excuses” as most of us often do. We want to follow him but we are not ready to let go of the things that constitute obstacles. We are invited today to really examine what we have sacrificed to follow Jesus as his disciples. What do you think prevents you from being a true disciple of Jesus?