July 7, 2019

In the Sunday Gospel over the course of this summer we will hear Jesus’ ongoing formation of his disciples as he makes his way to Jerusalem. Last week St. Luke told us that Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” This is a significant new stage in the ministry of Jesus as told to us in the Gospel of Luke.

This journey to Jerusalem will take up most of the rest of Luke’s Gospel. Last week Jesus made clear to those he called and those who desired to follow him that they had to make their discipleship the most important thing in their lives. They had to give up personal comfort and security. They had to be willing to set aside other priorities, even if those involve important relationships and duties. Everything has to take a back seat to following Jesus. In other words, they had to be “all in.”

This is the beginning of that ongoing formation that Jesus will do on the way to Jerusalem. In this Sunday’s Gospel he sends disciples out in pairs, to go ahead of him. He cautions them again that this is not going to be an easy journey. They are being sent like lambs among wolves. They are once again reminded that to fulfill this mission they had to be “all in.”

Next week we will hear how Jesus defines one’s neighbor in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan. In subsequent weeks we will hear how a disciple of the Lord needs to make time to listen to him - to sit with him, as it were - and learn from him. In a few weeks we will hear Jesus teach his disciples how to pray and hear those beautiful words of the Lord’s Prayer that have been passed down to us.

As we move into August the Lord Jesus will caution his followers against greed, and remind us that “much will be required of the person entrusted with much.” He also makes clear that following him may mean that we will experience division. Often those who do not accept Jesus’ message will force us to make a decision - to ask that question once again, are we all in? If so, our discipleship can cost us dearly. On the last Sunday in August Jesus will tell his followers that we need to strive to enter through the narrow gate - not the wide and easy one, but the one that requires us to be “all in all the way.”

These challenging Gospel passages will give us an opportunity this summer to reflect on our own discipleship. Are we “all in all the way” with Jesus? For most of us, this is a growing edge. For most of us we can give ourselves more completely to the Lord and his way.

We know that Jesus is “all in all the way” with us. The very journey to Jerusalem that we will accompany him on this summer makes clear the depth of his love and care for us. May these days of summer provide us some time to rest in that love and care, and to allow ourselves to be shaped and formed more and more into his faithful followers who are “all in” with him. 

Fr. Gary Lazzeroni