There’s a cute little story told about a time when the farm animals got together to plan breakfast. Each one was to bring something and there was much discussion about what each would contribute. The chicken quickly offered to bring the eggs. The pig, on the other hand, hesitated when he was asked to provide the ham.
“What’s wrong with you? Don’t be so selfish,” the chicken said. “Easy for you to say,” replied the pig. “Providing the eggs only involves a few minutes of your time, but, for me, it’s a total commitment!” A cute story, perhaps, but there’s a lesson here. The pig has to decide just how committed he really is. And so do we.
At the beginning of today’s Gospel, we see Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” And we know what lies ahead of him in Jerusalem. Jesus is “resolutely determined” to give His life so that the people might live. Jesus is about “total commitment.” But others along the way are not so sure.
It was the end of the day. Beverly had spent the day preparing for her meeting with her tax accountant the next morning. She got into her car and turned the radio to her favorite Christian station. As it happened, the program that evening was about this Gospel.
“How could anyone refuse to follow Jesus?” she asked herself. “Why would anyone even hesitate?” The next morning, Beverly met with her accountant. She assured him that her records were all in order. True, some of her deductions might not be quite as large as she had claimed, and she may have neglected to report some “cash” income, but everyone knew that you had to manipulate the truth a bit when you are dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, didn’t they?
“I will follow you wherever you go, Lord, but let me go first and (meet with my tax accountant).” The road to Jerusalem involves total commitment. Can we, like the pig, give our life to Jesus? Or are we more like the chicken, willing to give, but only when there’s no sacrifice involved on our part?
Van Benthem is a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.