But first, Jesus.
"Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
Whenever I read the Gospel passage from today, my heart always goes out to the man who asked to bury his father before following Jesus. It doesn’t seem too much to ask, and Jesus’ response throws me off. But I think that Jesus’ response has less to do with the man’s request, and more to do with the intention behind that request. Was the man filled with fear at the idea of following Jesus? Was he primarily worrying about what others would think of him? We don’t know what was on the man’s heart, but Jesus did. I imagine Jesus’ tone to be one of gentle firmness, because He knows it is not an easy call to follow Him, but He also knows that following Him leads to true joy and everlasting life.
My five-month old is on the move, and as I write this he has squirmed his way under the couch. A pile of dirty laundry waits in the corner, and my to-do list weighs on my mind. I imagine if Jesus were to show up this instant and ask me to follow Him, I too would probably say “not right now, I’ve got too much to do."
It is so easy to place other things before Jesus, to attend to needs that seem more pressing. But Jesus invites all of us to follow Him everyday: on days when we are overjoyed and full of life, on days when our crosses rest heavily on our shoulders, and on all the ordinary days in between. While there are people who are called to a life of “having no place to rest their heads,” most of us are called to follow Jesus right where we are: in our homes, in our school or workplace, among our family and community.
The laundry needs to get done. The baby needs to be cared for and loved. Family. Friends. Work. It isn’t an “either - or” with Jesus - He simply desires to be with us, to rejoice with us, to help shoulder our burdens, to delight in the beauty of our ordinary life.
Today, let’s ask ourselves how we can place Jesus first in our daily life. Amidst the diaper-changing, laundry, work, play - how can we proclaim the kingdom of God by the way we love and serve, think and pray?
Abby Fredrickson is head of content at Hallow, a new Catholic prayer and meditation app that helps you find peace and grow in your spiritual journey through guided meditation, lectio divina, examen, and rosary sessions. Abby lives in Michigan with her husband and son.