“My heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence because You will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will You suffer Your faithful one to undergo corruption. You will show me the path to life.” (Psalm 16:9-11)
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 “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Being a Christian means following the law of love. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things.
The liturgical readings for this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time demand that we think hard about what it means to be a disciple. If we make the decision to walk in the way of Christ, we need to be prepared for what that entails. St. Paul asks the Christians who receive his letter to understand what it means to be free, to willingly embrace Jesus as our Savior. But, if we do so, we have to accept that true freedom is not the ability to do whatever we please. Instead it is the gift and the responsibility to say “Yes!” to our Lord rather than ourselves. “For freedom Christ has set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:1,13-14). What did the first people listening to this letter being read to them think when they were told that to be truly free instead of bound as a slave means loving others? And not loving them a little bit, but as much as we love ourselves. In fact, we must want for them all the good that we want for ourselves. If we want others to be kind and respectful to us, to ignore our little faults and rejoice in our blessings, then we must be willing to do the same for them. And not just those we like, but every person we meet.
Being a Christian means following the law of love. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. When St. Paul talks about the desires of the flesh, he is not only referring to sins of lust or gluttony. The flesh is any form of self-centeredness that puts us at odds with the Spirit. Like us, those early disciples of Christ, must have had trouble always trying to demonstrate their love for Him by loving others. Yet, two thousand years later, we are still trying. As a Church and as individuals, we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. If we are really one with Christ, we know that no sin has the last word unless we let it. Our Redeemer will always be there to help us get up and keep on going -- from now all the way to eternity.