13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (see 5a)
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
Luke 9:51-62
June 26, 2022

Today’s gospel passage begins a new section in Luke’s gospel that will continue until the time for Jesus’ Passion draws near. Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”

Jesus is making a physical journey to Jerusalem but there is a deeper meaning to his journey. As He journeys to the earthly city of Jerusalem, He also progresses on a spiritual journey to the heavenly Jerusalem.

It is the heavenly Jerusalem that we seek.

As Jesus journeyed on his way, he was not welcomed by everyone. There were the Samaritans who did not welcome him. James and John responded to this saying, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them.” Jesus did not. He let them be and moved on.

We encounter people in our lives who do not agree with what our faith teaches. We simply offer them the truth. It is then their choice to follow or not.

Some did not welcome Jesus. On the other side, a person told Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Was Jesus pleased with this? He certainly wants to lead people to the Father. He wants us to follow him.
He also wants us to understand what it required to follow him. Some people will be against us. It is not easy. Jesus says to the person, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Following Jesus is more than just showing up. To follow Jesus is to give our whole heart, mind, body, and soul to him.

Jesus’ home, ultimately our eternal home, is not in this world. It is Heaven we seek. What our faith teaches is not popular. One needs to look no further than the Supreme Court decision regarding abortion this week to see disagreement.

Many people know that our Catholic faith is against abortion. What we really are is prolife, valuing the dignity of all life from conception till natural death. Because we are prolife, especially in the womb, we are against abortion. (see more on the prolife teaching of our faith see my prolife series of video presentations – Treating Life with Dignity and Love at https://www.renewaloffaith.org/prolife

Are you ready to do what it takes to follow Jesus now?

Jesus says to another person, “Follow me.” What response does He get? “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” If the disciple’s father had just passed away, it would be a reasonable request. However, I doubt that was the case. Why? Because if the person’s father had just died, Jesus would probably go the funeral himself.

It is more likely that this person is speaking of putting his family obligations before his faith. Family obligations are important but so is Jesus.

Another person responds to Jesus’ “Follow me” saying, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Again, taken as a moment to say goodbye, it might seem like a reasonable request. But is it?

The Lord seeks our response now. The Lord told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor. What did Elijah do? He immediately set out to find Elisha.

Elisha expected nothing. He was plowing in the field. When Elijah “threw his cloak over him”, Elisha was surprised. He probably wasn’t sure what to think.

Elijah begins to move on. Elisha “ran after Elijah.” Elisha slaughtered the animals, burned the plowing equipment, and gave the food to the people. Then he followed Elijah.

Are you ready to follow Jesus? Are you ready to follow Jesus now?

Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as the second greatest commandment. The first greatest commandment is to love God.

Love involves a free choice. “Freedom” is a popular world today.

What do you do with your freedom?

Do you use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, for earthly pleasures?

Or you use your freedom to do what is good?

We use our freedom best when we follow the spirit to do God’s Will.

God does not want us to be slaves.

Jesus sets us free from our sins in sacrificing his life on the Cross for us.

Jesus affirms the law but not simply as an obligation. God does not want to us to be slaves to the Law. He wants us to make a free choice.

God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us. Unfortunately, our flesh and spirit do not always seek the same thing. The flesh looks for immediate pleasures in this world. The Spirit looks beyond the things of this world to the next.

When we look forward to the heavenly kingdom and all that God offers us, we set the Lord as the most important thing. We ask God to show us “the path to life” and for the grace to accept the Lord’s counsel.

We have free will. What choice do you make? Do you choose to make God number one?

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