What does it mean to follow Christ? What does it mean to commit our life to Him above all else -- especially our own will?
Reflections on the readings for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Times (June 26, 2022): 1 KGS 19:16,19-21; PS 16:1-2,5,7-8,9-10,11; GAL 5:1,13-18; LK 9:51-62
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Serving God always means making Him the primary focus of our lives. It is not that family matters or other human obligations are unimportant. But nothing in this world should come between us and the will of God.
The Old Testament reading and the Gospel today ask us to contemplate what giving up everything in order to put God first actually means. The First Book of Kings tells us about the prophet Elijah who obeys God’s command to call Elisha as his successor. When Elisha wants to return home to say goodbye to his parents, Elijah objects. So Elisha burns his plow, sacrifices his oxen, gives the meat away, and follows Elijah. The Gospel reading from St. Luke introduces three people who say that they are willing to follow Jesus. However, the first does not understand what commitment to Christ truly demands. The second has a serious family concern to deal with: burying his father. Yet, Jesus says, “‘Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.’ To him Jesus said, ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow or looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:60-62).
Serving God always means making Him the primary focus of our lives. It is not that family matters or other human obligations are unimportant. But nothing in this world should come between us and the will of God. If we believe in Christ and accept our duty to Him, we need to make decisions each day about where to put our efforts. Living the Gospel, building up the Kingdom of God -- these are our Lord’s expectations for all Christians. Each person has a unique calling, one we learn as we journey with our Redeemer. Where we go or what we do are not always clear ahead of time. It is enough to trust God and strive to do good; to help those around us by loving them through our growing bond with Christ. This is the life of those who sincerely follow Him.
Suggested missionary action: We can resolve to make a serious examination of our lives this week. Not necessarily to confess our sins, although that is a very valuable thing to do. We need to better understand the decisions we make, the way we spend our days, and our ongoing relationship with Christ. We might decide we need to make some changes. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us discern what we need to know -- and to do.