Jesus moritorium on Funerals?

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus telling a man who he called to follow him that he can’t go back and bury his father. There is speculation on why Jesus said this, was this man’s father really dead, could his father had just been spiritually dead, we just don’t know.

I think of my own paternal grandfather’s death, it happened about a week before I began seminary education. If he would have died a few days later and I would have to miss the first few days of seminary, would the rector, my vocation director, or anyone have said: “let the dead bury their dead.” Likely not, they probably would have told me to go to your grandfather’s funeral and return when it’s over.

Why would Jesus be so cruel and say don’t go to your Father’s funeral? I think something more profound is going on than just his father just passed away, and this guy is being called to follow Jesus. Personally, I believe that something is holding this man back from following Jesus with his whole heart.

I believe Jesus in today’s gospel is teaching us to completely detach from everything and choose him over everything else. There may be things in our lives that we may be shocked that he calls us to. The majority of us will be able to bury our family members and loved ones, but he calls all of us to follow him no matter what he calls us to.

So on this feast of St. Francis lived a life of poverty, may we radically follow the call of God to detach ourselves from everything even if that means detaching our selves from those people we love.

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