And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." Jesus said, "No one sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:57-62)
In the dialogues of Jesus with various people we learn what are his expectations from those who follow him, and they are radical expectations. He expects that his followers will be ready to leave everything, whether it is burying their father or say farewell to their family. It is a radicalism that might seem at odds with the personal liberty of the person. But it is not.
Jesus invites us to a journey of reflection, because following him could not be a moment of emotion. It has to be a decision taken after time of reflection to understand better the commitment to be undertaken.
Following Christ means to put Jesus in the first place in one's life. It means that all decisions are taken in the light of the teachings of Jesus. It means letting Jesus influence your life completely.
For the Christian, it is very important to follow Jesus, or rather a Christian cannot function properly without following his Master. Because it is Jesus who gives life its meaning and make it worth living.
Jesus told us also that He does not have a place where He can rest his head or sleep. In other words He does not have a place or anything to call his own. Saying this, what is He expecting from his followers?
He expects that whoever follows him has to be free from anyhting that might enslave the person. Whatever riches or whatever relationships one might have must not take the place of Jesus in the life of the his follower. They must not have more value than one's loving relationship with Jesus.
Jesus expects a lot... but He does not ask for the impossible.
Jesus invites us to make a choice: either we choose him and follow him, whatever it might cost us, or else choose ourselves with our egoism. Choosing Jesus means also to accept his cross. Like him we need to carry our daily cross and follow in his footsteps without placing any conditions. Our commitment needs to be free from any condition because his love for us is unconditional.
When Jesus asks us to carry our cross, He is not asking us to be on a masochistic look-out for excessive pain. He is asking us to accept life as it comes to us, with its moments of pain, its problems and difficulties, but aldo with its moments of happiness.
He wants us to carry our cross because that is his yoke for us and He promised us that his yoke is easy and his load is light. He will be with us to give us the strength to carry on, to help us when we fall... but first we have to choose that we follow him.
When we do what Jesus asks from us nothing will be impossible. We have his promise and He never goes back on his word.
Why don't we trust him more and do whatever He tells us?