Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let the dead bury their dead!

This is an all around great video from a priest with younger reflexes than mine. I think it can be mined for all sorts of good things but especially for points or aids in transforming our worldview on vocations and the meaning or implications, when push comes to shove, of the first question in the old Baltimore Catechism: "Why did God make me? He made me to know, love and serve Him in this life, so as to be happy with Him in the next." Parents cannot have a will or wish of their own for their children; their hearts must also be set on fulfilling God's will first and foremost.

Whenever the Gospel exchange over the call from Jesus "Come follow me!" comes up, I personally doubt the popular interpretation that we're talking about an imminent funeral: "Let me bury my father and mother first!" At the moment of the exchange with Jesus, I imagine the young man's parents very much alive. In a sense there is no difference between the call of Elisha by Elijah and Jesus' call to "Come follow me!" Elisha took only the time for a last meal and a goodbye kiss to his parents before following Elijah; the man in the Gospel was going to give follow to his parents' will until he could bed them both down in their graves. The folks' will took precedence over Christ's call. "Let the dead bury their dead!"

Any time I argue in favor of getting young men off to the seminary sooner and maximalizing their potential for living heroically virtuous lives, I get the "times have changed" and nobody will part with their 18 year old let alone (as my parents did in 1964) with their 14 year old. Granted, in terms of seminary, we have to be worthy of the family's trust, but 12 year old Jesus' stay in the Temple is paradigmatic for the eagerness of youth even today which should not be stifled or, God forbid, tempted with all sorts of distractions. We as a Church have an obligation to help men on "from the womb" with a life project gifted or bestowed upon them by God out of His most perfect love for each and every one of them by name.

Hannah knew exactly what she was doing when she entrusted little Samuel to Eli, giving him back to God. We as Church need to hustle and prepare for today's Hannahs when they coming knocking, ready to give their sons back to God in accord with His will.


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