Following Jesus is not without danger and risk

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A former teacher and close friend took a big decision a few weeks ago to venture walking the first five days of the Camino se Santiago. This was a brave decision as the person in question is nearly seventy and walked more than one hundred kilometres on his own.

A former teacher and close friend took a big decision a few weeks ago to venture walking the first five days of the Camino se Santiago. This was a brave decision as the person in question is nearly seventy and walked more than one hundred kilometres on his own.

I have to confess I admire his bravery and sense of adventure to leave behind all the securities of home to walk in the face of the unknown. A group of friends organised a last supper before he departed as a token of friendship and a final gesture in case we never saw him again. Even though he taught geography in his former life, due to his age, we still had fears he might wonder off in the wrong direction. We needn’t have worried because our friend managed the first week on the French Way of the Camino without serious hitch or injury. One of the reasons this was possible was because the preparation had been done in the months and weeks leading up to the week spent walking through the Basque country.

Upon the pilgrim’s return I hosted a celebration in his honour. I was under pressure as I attempted to cook three curries to allow for people’s preferences. As normal I spent an hour in one of the local supermarkets buying ingredients. In front of me in the queue were a group of woman talking across the checkouts. Once I heard football mentioned my ears picked up. The woman were talking about the Euros and the useless breed known as the Derry man, who had the cheek to take possession of the TV. In response, this small group of women were forming a support group. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking up from my groceries at the wrong time which silenced the man hating session. I smiled weakly at the women and one responded with ‘this better not appear in next week’s Journal!’

Any adventure we attempt in life requires preparation, time and energy spent assessing the various needs and demands. As disciples Jesus wants us to respond here and now with total commitment. We can all become distracted, so caught up with our own concerns that we can fail to response to Jesus’ urgent request. Like the prophets of old Jesus is setting his face to journey towards Jerusalem. This is a significant gesture because Jerusalem has traditionally been the place where the prophets were killed. So, following Jesus along the path of discipleship is not without danger or risks. As Jesus addresses his disciples, the crowds and those who oppose him, they are faced with a decision in response to his word. Can we leave behind all our dead ways which prevent us becoming the person God wants us to be? Can we be inspired by Jesus’ example of listening to and responding to the word of the Father? We are all called now, not tomorrow or the day after, Jesus’ needs followers who can put building God’s Kingdom first.