The Tragedy of the Unseized Moment
13th Sunday Ordinary Time
June 26, 2016
“…and to another he said, ‘Follow Me.’
But the man replied, ‘Lord, let me go and bury my father.’
But he answered him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”
from Luke 9:51-62
In our gospel this Sunday (Luke 9:51-62), Jesus has an encounter with a man that may sound to us a bit harsh. He has gotten the Lord’s attention. Christ looks at him and says “follow me.” How many of us would love to have been in this situation! And yet this is our moment too – we too are this man or woman whom our Lord is calling.
This man is interested – yet he hesitates. Why does he hesitate? He tells the Lord yes – yes, he would like to follow him. But he has to go bury his father. This seems like a good excuse. Who wouldn’t understand delaying because a relative is dying? But this is probably not what this man meant. This way of putting things indicated that he had long-term obligations that were more important than following Christ right now. His father most likely would have lived for many more years. But the chance to follow Christ while he lived on earth was a brief one. Christ was going to his death. There would be no second chance for this man.
The moral of this encounter, I think, is that there is a certain time in which to do something, and if one misses that moment the chance may never come again. Many times, if we don’t recognize our opportunity when God offers it to us, the thing will never happen at all. God may later offer us other opportunities, and if we have learned from what we lost we may not miss future encounters with God.
What excuse have I had to avoid following God and his will in my life? We like to think that if we saw Christ in the flesh we would have a different response. Christ calls each of us in different ways, and especially at certain moments in our lives. These are the opportunities that have the potential to change our lives forever. Think of the time you met the person that you married – that first encounter; or the chance to be with someone we love before they passed away; or the chance to get a certain job. Our faith is like that also. We have only this moment of life in which to choose Christ – a lifetime of opportunities. But if we live a life filled with excuses and a lack of action, in the and we will have in the end is a life filled with regrets.