And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God” (9:61-62).
Jesus again invites us to the radical call of the Gospel to put God before all else, even before family and again even more radical than the Old Testament. When Elijah called Elisha to follow him, Elijah allowed Elisha to say goodbye to his family and settle his estate, so to speak, before they left together (cf 1 Kings 19:19-21).
This invitation is given to all of us. We are invited to be part of the Church. The important foundational point is that we understand what Jesus means by the Church. The original Greek term that we have in the earliest manuscripts was ekklēsia. This is more than just a gathering or an assembly of like minds. Ekklēsia means to be called out from.
Jesus calls us out from anything in our life that we put or place before God, and he calls us to a new way of living. He calls us to be part of his very being, his Body. Jesus invites us to turn away from the false substitutes in which we may be seeking happiness and fulfillment. Pleasure, power, honor, and wealth will not fulfill us, will not provide stability for us, nor will they give us control over our lives, but making them idols, we will be enslaved to them.
We have been created to be fulfilled, to be happy, to belong. To experience meaning and fulfillment means to surrender to who God has created us to be, which is a living, craving hunger and desire to be one with God and one another. Nothing else will satisfy, nothing. Once we say yes to the invitation of Jesus to reorient our life such that we put God before all else, the other matters and material realities will fall into place. Jesus calls us each by name, out from the apparent goods and false truths that we have been distracted by and he calls us into the experience of being incorporated, being part of his Mystical Body, which is the Body of Christ, the Church, the communion of believers unified in his name, renewed, born from above in water and blood.