There was a story of a man who was assigned to watch the light house. He was given a gallon of oil to be used in lighting the lighthouse. The oil was good for a period of 1 month. In the middle of the month, two people in the community had an emergency and asked him for some oil. Though reluctant, he gave in to their request.
At the end of the month, he ran out of oil. On that last night, the lighthouse was dark because there was no available oil to light it. That very night, 3 ships docking on the harbor had an accident because there was no light. Over a hundred people died that night.
During the investigation, the man gave his reasons for the mishap. His superior said that his assignment was to keep the lighthouse lighted and nothing more. What he did was no excuse.
This was a case of a lack of focus. There was nothing wrong with helping the two people but it was at the expense of the ships needing the guidance of the lighthouse. There was conflict of priorities between something good and something best. He was sidetracked from his goal. He lost focus.
In life, we encounter temptations. If we do not have focus of our goal, we could get lost and give in to temptations. There are also times when we cannot wait for what we aim for and end up with something far from our goal. We get distracted from our mission.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus said… “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, 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.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9: 51-62)
if you want to follow me, let the dead bury the dead. He who holds the plow shares and looks back is not fit to follow me.
There was nothing wrong with the man wanting to bury his father or the other man wanting to say goodbye to his family. However, to follow Jesus was more important than anything else.
As a little exercise, close your eyes for a minute and try to fill up the blank in this sentence.
I will follow Jesus on the condition that ____________.
What was your answer to the blank portion?
If you had an answer, then that is just being like the disciples in the story.
In following Jesus, there is no condition. To follow him is our goal. Whatever distractions come our way, think about your mission. When problems come your way and are tempted to succumb to temptations, always remember that to follow Jesus is your ultimate mission and everything else is secondary.
You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
Source: Redemptorist Church Homily June 30, 2013 10 AM