Some Opportunities Never Come Again
13th Sunday Ordinary Time
June 30, 2019
And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go and bury my father first.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
From this Sunday’s Gospel: Luke 9: 51-62
Jesus’ words certainly sound harsh. But things are not what they seem here. This man’s father was almost certainly not dead or even dying. What this person was asking for was time to go home and think about the Lord’s offer. Perhaps this man intended to put off being a follower of Christ for many years to come. He was undecided. But time was the one thing that this man did not have. He did not have years to make up his mind, for Jesus was going to his death. Jesus was passing this way for the last time. So, for this would-be follower, it was now or never.
A real vocation to the priesthood or religious life, or indeed a call by the Lord to a genuine conversion or re-conversion to the faith almost always has a sense of urgency to it; that sense that one has to get going, one has to begin, one has to persevere and not dally too long! This is always the mark of the Holy Spirit – get going!
C.S. Lewis has a great quote that I refer to often:
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
In every opportunity there is a critical moment;
and if that moment is missed
the thing will never likely be done at all!
Haven’t we all had opportunities that we have missed—that have never come again? Well, at least we can learn from them. What Jesus was saying to this man (and to us) is that when the Lord speaks to us, the time for action is now. The time to begin to follow Jesus is now. Every one of us receives the call to follow Christ more closely every single day. We receive it when we wake up and are given the gift of one more day. Perhaps it will be the last day of my life. Will God offer me an opportunity today that will never come again? What will my response be? To put him off yet again? Or to finally say yes?