Today’s gospel is quite a study in contrasts. “When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” Jesus has a clear sense of his goal and purpose on earth and in salvation history. Jerusalem is the place of his suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and the giving of the Holy Spirit. He goes forward with resolute determination, wholeheartedly embracing his mission with conviction for our good and our salvation.
This is contrasted with the response of the people Jesus invites to follow him. Their response is basically “Yes, but…” The “but” is the problem. They become sidetracked and don’t demonstrate the resoluteness and determination and conviction that Jesus himself models. We never hear whether these people eventually follow Jesus or whether they keep going on their sidetracks.
Think about the level of conviction and determination in your own life about faithfully following Christ. What helps you to keep your life-goal and purpose in clear view? What can tend to get you sidetracked?