for Sunday, June 26, 2016
We begin to focus on discipleship today and what it means to follow someone else, to follow the Lord Jesus. Each of us has been given complete freedom by our baptism and the second reading reminds us not to use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, as an opportunity to serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The first reading today speaks to us about Elisha's call to follow Elijah and to take on the role of Elijah. The call demands of Elisha that he leave all that he has done before and be simply at the beck and call of God Himself. Elisha is ready and follows, even though he goes to say good-bye to his father and mother.
The Gospel has several stories of "calling" and each one is a bit different. When some Samaritan people don't want to receive Jesus, James and John are ready to destroy them. Jesus rebukes the. This is an important element in Christian tradition and quite often ignored. Far too often in our Christian history we have destroyed those who rejected us. We can still do that today in so many ways. Yet it is not the way of Jesus.
Jesus calls others and most are willing to go with Him, but sometimes put conditions. Jesus wants His call to with unconditional, at least to some of the people. How often we can find ourselves replying to Jesus in the same way: I want to fight sin, but not quite yet. I want to do your will, but give me a little more time.
Jesus does not reject us for our weakness and lack of strength to follow Him, but He keeps asking us for more. Jesus tells us just as much as he tells the person in today's Gospel: "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."
These are strong statements and can frighten us. If we are among the weak who look to what was left behind, we can only ask Jesus: "Help me, Lord, so that I will begin to look to you alone and not to what was left behind." We are all called. Let us respond to the call, even if we fail many times. Lord, have mercy.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: 1 Kings 19.16b, 19-21
Second Reading: Galatians 5.1, 13-18
Gospel: Luke 9.51-62
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: