UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
"Lord, I will follow you wherever you go"
- October 3, 2012
From what we see in the Gospels, Jesus makes two radical demands of his followers. First, give up all your material possessions, and live a life of complete austerity, as I, Jesus do. Secondly, give up your family completely.
Family was all important in the ancient world ( -- it is so even today, when men and women are more independent), and without family connections one couldnât really survive in society. Jesus knows this, and yet downplays family, and demands that his disciples leave their near and dear ones and give themselves entirely to the mission of âproclaiming the kingdomâ.
This Gospel passage gives us three typical questions, and Jesusâs answers.
To the first man who showed his willingness to follow Jesus âwherever you goâ, the Master replies: I have nothing that you might call a home. No place of comfort or security, such as even the birds of the air and the beasts of the field possess. Can you live this kind of life? Such indeed was the radical poverty Jesus called his disciples to.
The two other requests from possible disciples relate to the family: âLet me go and bury my father firstâ, and âLet me first say goodbye to my people at home.â In the ancient world, family values were absolute â filial piety demanded that an eldest son be present at the funeral of his father. To Jesus such values are unimportant. To âannounce the kingdom of Godâ takes priority over everything else. Not only does it absolve one of oneâs filial duties, but it demands that one never look back with nostalgia to what has been left behind.
And why was this so? Because Jesus knew better than we, how the love of mother, wife and children can soften our resolve to serve the Lord, and how the desire to help our families makes us cheat, amass wealth and dilute our first commitment.
Circumstances change, and society today isnât like what it used to be. Still, the demands of discipleship are as stringent, and the call of the kingdom takes priority over blood and kinship.