The characters presented in the readings today are hesitant to do the Will of God and commit themselves to it right away. Jesus addresses three of them in the Gospel each, while desiring to find a way to heaven hesitate wither from fear or lack of confidence or spiritual laziness.
Jesus addresses the first man and says in effect, before you follow me, count the cost, because nothing is ever free.
We may have thought that membership in the Church doesn’t make much difference, that we don’t really have to do anything but show up or put in the time. Jesus warns us however that it does make a difference that God chose seven sacraments as the means of communicating with us and that our worship of God on Sunday is our expected response. Our participation in the life of the Church, our commitment to her, makes all the difference in the world.
Jesus addresses the second man and reminds him that with everything there is a crucial moment; if that moment is not seized it will most likely be missed. If ours heart are stirred to act in order to do something for the love of Jesus, then we must act at once. Don’t hesitate or the opportunity will be lost.
To the third man, Jesus states a hard truth. There is a story about a grandfather who took his grandson to the beach. As they watched the sunset, they noticed a grumpy old man complaining about things that happened years ago. He could not let go of his past. It looked like he was angry at the sun. The boy turned to his grandfather and said, “I hope you never suffer from a sunset.”
You see, the Christian is by nature a person of hope. No matter what ill will or circumstance awaits him, he marches on, not to a sunset, but toward the dawn. That’s why Altars face the Sunrise! It is the new day that awaits a true disciple of Christ. If we selfishly hold on to the evils of the past, we risk losing our grip on the future and the hope that awaits you as the sun rises in your heart.
In order to find a way to the Kingdom of Heaven we have to come to terms with the real Will of God for us and it has to be in the Church. Jesus does not accept any service that is lukewarm or caught in a net of pre-conditions.
Saint Paul says, “Brothers and sisters: for freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit to the yoke of slavery. My friends, you are called to freedom so act like it by loving God first above all things and then going out a loving your neighbor as yourself.