Today's Gospel reading might seem a little bit harsh or blunt, but it has very true meaning behind it. In the Gospel, Jesus talks to three disciples that desire to follow Him. Each of these men has a different excuse that is preventing him from fully giving himself to Jesus.
The first disciple exclaims that he will follow Christ wherever He travels. This man appears to be a loyal follower, but Jesus can see past his disguise. This man is simply saying that he will follow Christ, but he does not truly believe. Jesus is able to look past superficial words, into the true meaning of a person's actions and faith. Sometimes this happens to me, where I will say something and do the opposite. Jesus can see that words have no meaning if you are able not live up to them. If I wish to follow Christ, I must put my whole being into living as Jesus would want me to live. This may be difficult, but just think of the pain that Jesus had to go through while He was on the cross. When I think of this, it puts many of my problems into the correct perspective.
The second and third disciples both have excuses that relate to family. When Jesus speaks of dropping everything to follow him, he is not limiting this to possessions. There is a very interesting phrase in this passage: You cannot plow a straight row looking backwards. I am not a farmer of any sorts, but I think most people realize that, if you plow long enough while looking backwards, you cannot stay in a straight line. The same concept can be applied to walking or driving. Imagine driving while looking out of the rearview window the entire time! In the same way, I am not able to walk straight with Christ if I am looking back on my previous life.
Leaving home for college is a big challenge for many people. You are finally able to make decisions for yourself and not be restricted by your parents. However, you must live with the consequences if you make the wrong decision. I was very nervous about leaving my home to live at a college that was four hours away. I was always thinking about what could go wrong. However, once I had made some new friends, I found life in college much more enjoyable. I still communicate with my family, I make sure to update them with what is going on in my life. However, I am not homesick like I was during that first week away. In the same way, Jesus is asking us to have the confidence and maturity to leave life and walk with him. Obsessing over the past will make it much more difficult, just like calling my parents or going home ever weekend would have made it harder for me to adjust to college life. It is not easy to do, but Jesus will help you along the way, just like the friends I made in college helped me. Realize that you are never alone, Jesus is always with you.