In the Story Jesus is trying to get his disciples to understand that following him is not a matter of prestige or power, but one of openness and compassion, of being with folks in their difficult times, of knowing God in our own lives so we can help folks be aware of God in their lives.The openness is to the Spirit who continuously offers us insight to what it means for us to love as Jesus’ followers in our lives here and now.
Pope Francis is trying to move the church in the direction of being pastoral instead of law enforcement, and he is getting a lot of push back from bishops in the United States. The role of any who would be Jesus’ followers is to walk with folks as they make their difficult decisions, not beat them up with the rule book. He is not changing doctrine, but moving the Church to pastoral accompaniment.
Following Jesus is not an exclusive club. Jesus spent time with any who came to him, and helped them see God loving them in their life. As happens today, some folks just could not accept this. As it was with Jesus, the Holy Spirit has no boundaries or limits.
As we go through life we are constantly changing how we see things, adjusting to our reality whatever it is. Yet many of us still hold on to the idea of God being a judge and punisher that we learned as children. Trusting in the Spirit is frightening to some.