I’ve been meaning to bring up how impressed I’ve been with Paulist Father (and good friend) Ron Franco’s blog City Father. Recently, Fr. Ron was just named pastor of the Paulist parish, Immaculate Conception, in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’ve actually been there and it’s a great place and I think that Fr. Ron will bring much intellectual engagement with the scripture to the parish, as well as, a great sense of hospitality which I always felt in New York each time I had dinner at his house, or even out at a local greasy spoon for brunch.
This past weekend we heard the shattering words of Jesus, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Fr. Ron picks up on that in his homily post for this past week:
In pleading, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father,” the would-be-disciple seems to have been saying to Jesus: “I’ll be quite happy to follow you – but on my own schedule, when my life is all in order and all my affairs have been settled – someday, but not quite yet” (an earlier version of Saint Augustine’s so often quoted 4th-century prayer, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet”).
The problem with that, whether for the would-be disciple or anyone else, is that things don’t always go according to plan. Who knows when, if ever, one’s life will be in order? Who knows when, if ever, one will finally be ready? But God’s call comes when God calls – whether we are ready to respond or not. It’s not our timing that counts but God’s time. Jesus’ shockingly over-the-top statement means that this is the moment and now is the time to respond. God’s time is now. God’s call, when and how it comes, is always now – always in the present, pointing us forward, never looking backward.
Indeed we never know when God will call us to something new, something exciting, perhaps even something scary that pushes us to face whatever we might fear and help us grow further into maturity. We also never know when God will call us home to be with God forever. So Jesus’ message, as Fr. Ron rightly notes is one of immediacy. God is calling us today. How do we respond to God’s invitation to us each day?