26th June 2022 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time -Yr C

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21

The Lord spoke to the prophet Elijah and said, “You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat, as prophet in your place.”

So Elijah set out from there, and found Elisha, who was ploughing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by Elisha and threw his mantle over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” Elisha returned from following Elijah, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then Elisha set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Second Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-18

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem.  And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for Jesus; but the Samaritans did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.

When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

To another Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Reflections – Our Personal Calling

The Gospel tells how three individuals wanted to follow Jesus and learn more about God. Far from urging them to join his group, Jesus seemed rather to discourage them. The first was told to count the cost of joining, as he would have no fixed abode. The next answer seems quite harsh. “Let the [spiritually] dead bury their dead.” Perhaps the man’s father was still alive, and an eldest son could not leave home until after his father’s death. But if we are faced with a radical option and do not decide at once, we are less likely to do so later. What Jesus said to the third man was equally challenging: “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The wooden plough could break if it struck a large stone; so the ploughman had to watch the ground ahead at all times. The commitment of a disciple to following Christ should be equally focussed.

All through life, God is also calling us, whether we respond or not, even as he called Peter from his fishing, Matthew from his tax office, Elisha from his farm. But, how many choose to answer God’s call? Jesus once observed that “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14). On the other hand we have his words of warm encouragement, “Fear not little flock, for it has pleased the Father to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32).

As a foundation for any vocation to service in the church is the belief that God “so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). This reassures us of the unconditional love on God’s part for each and every person. With that belief we renew our Yes to our basic Christian vocation: “through love become servants to one another” or in our Lord’s words: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

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