Neh 2:1-8 / Lk 9:57-62
Excuses are a regular part of human life. We give them and we get them, and most of them don’t really mean what they say. “The dog ate my homework,” or “My little brother threw it out the window on the way to school” really mean I didn’t do my homework. “We’re terribly sorry that we won’t be able to join you,” means in most cases, “We wouldn’t be caught dead at that event.”
Jesus got a full dose of that experience in today’s gospel. He offered a personal invitation to several individuals to join his inner circle. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, by any measure or calculation. But what he got in return were frivolous excuses that revealed that his invitees were on many counts just lightweights who really had no idea of the precious and unique character of his offer.
But before we rail against them too harshly, we might want to note the frequency with which we offer ourselves and the Lord even weaker excuses as he calls us to live up to our best selves. Some effective self-monitoring would be useful for most of us in this regard. Listen to your own inner voice as it responds to the call of the gospels. Useful self-knowledge is lurking there and so is the possibility of conversion. Don’t miss it!