Don’t Look Back

We’re reading at Mass from the long portion of Luke’s gospel that describes Jesus’ journey from Galilee to Jerusalem–chapters 9,51-18,14. One sentence dominates this part of Luke’s gospel. “Follow me,” Jesus says. Another sentence we hear repeatedly is: “Don’t look back.”

Notice how Jesus’ miracles on this journey help people stuck in one place move on. For example, he cures the ten lepers confined outside a village in Samaria and sets them free. “Stand up and go,” Jesus says to them. (Luke 17,11-19) The blind man begging beside the road outside Jericho looks like he’s doomed to sit there forever. Jesus not only immediately gives him his sight, but getting up the man “followed him, giving glory to God.” {Luke 18, 35-43)

“Follow me,” Jesus says on his way to glory, but not all hear. Leprosy and blindness aren’t the only things stopping them. In Luke’s journey narrative, a lot of things can get in the way. Today’s reading serves up some of them.

In Lot’s day, Jesus says, “they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting , building on the day Lot left Sodom.” It was time to see beyond these things and get going, but Lot’s wife looked back instead of looking ahead. Fixed on the life she knew, she was frozen in it. She isn’t the only one.

Jesus gives other examples like this in Luke’s journey narrative. The rich fool building bigger barns, (Luke 12,16-21) the rich man absorbed in himself and his riches, (Luke 16, 19-31) the man absorbed in a lawsuit with his brother, (Luke 12,13-15) the disciples absorbed in maneuvering politically for first place.(Luke 18,15-17) How can they make the journey with him?

Yet, Jesus returns often to another theme on the journey that offers a remedy for our lack of faith. Pray constantly, he says. Never stop praying, for prayer opens your eyes and your mind and your heart. Prayer gives us the grace to take up our cross each day and follow him.

1 Comment

Filed under Religion

One response to “Don’t Look Back

  1. Lynn Ballas

    Thumbs up!

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