Homily Reflection 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
GOD’S CALL AND OUR CORRESPONDENCE
DIVINE VOCATION AND GENEROUS PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE: these are the two main ideas highlighted by the 13th Sunday liturgical readings.
JESUS INVITES US TO FOLLOW HIM AND THIS INVOLVES TREADING ALONG THE PATH OF RENUNCIATION.
Following Him is much more than a euphoric moment: it is a daily commitment which does not admit concessions.
FOLLOWING JESUS, LIVING A CHRISTIAN LIFE AND LIVING CHRIST’S LIFE REQUIRE: (1) ABANDONING and GIVING UP EVERYTHING for the Lord; (2) LIVING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT and LIVING THE FREEDOM BOUGHT FOR US BY CHRIST: THE FREEDOM OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD; (3) and NOT LOOKING BACK, ONCE ONE HAS EMBARKED ON THE ROAD
- ABANDONING and GIVING UP EVERYTHING for the Lord, as we see in Elisha’s case in the 1st reading (1Kings 19: 16.19-21). Elisha’s attitude is an exact example of renunciation of one’s interests to follow the divine call.
“The Lord said to Elijah: ‘You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.’
Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. ELISHA LEFT THE OXEN, RAN AFTER ELIJAH, AND SAID, “PLEASE, LET ME KISS MY FATHER AND MOTHER GOODBYE, AND I WILL FOLLOW YOU.” Elijah answered, ‘Go back! Have I done anything to you?’ Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat.
THEN ELISHA LEFT AND FOLLOWED ELIJAH AS HIS ATTENDANT.”
- LIVING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (2nd reading: Gal 5:1,13-18) and LIVING THE FREEDOM BOUGHT FOR US BY CHRIST: THE FREEDOM OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
- This freedom DOES NOT CONSIST in DOING WHAT WE PLEASE or THAT WHICH OUR FLESH DESIRES.
- Rather, IT IS THE LIBERATION FROM WHAT ENSLAVENS US AND IMPEDES US TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. IT IS LIBERATION FROM MORAL EVIL, FROM THE SLAVERY OF SIN AND OF THE DEVIL.
- IT IS THE FREEDOM TO LIVE FOR THE LOVE AND SERVICE OF GOD AND OF OTHERS.
“Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ 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. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.
I say, then: LIVE BY THE SPIRIT AND YOU WILL CERTAINLY NOT GRATIFY THE DESIRE OF THE FLESH. FOR THE FLESH HAS DESIRES AGAINST THE SPIRIT, AND THE SPIRIT AGAINST THE FLESH; THESE ARE OPPOSED TO EACH OTHER, SO THAT YOU MAY NOT DO WHAT YOU WANT. BUT IF YOU ARE GUIDED BY THE SPIRIT, YOU ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.”
- And NOT LOOKING BACK, ONCE ONE HAS EMBARKED ON THE ROAD (Luke 9: 51-62)
“As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, ‘I WILL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.’
And to another he said, ‘FOLLOW ME.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, let me go first and bury my father.’ But he answered him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ And 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 AND LOOKS TO WHAT WAS LEFT BEHIND IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD.’”
- Before God’s initiative and the divine call, WE ALWAYS RUN THE RISK OF TRYING TO CONDITION OUR RESPONSE ACCORDING TO PERSONAL INTERESTS.
- Rather, we should ask God so we may be GENEROUS AND PROMPT in our response to our DIVINE VOCATION: TO GOD’S CALL, for it is the PATH WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR US even before the beginning of the world, which will lead to TRUE AND ETERNAL HAPPINESS.
- Total self-giving demands total renunciation but let us not forget that GOD CAN NEVER BE OUTDONE IN GENEROSITY. Remember his promise of the hundredfold to those who leave behind their father, mother, siblings, possessions?
Dear brethren in Christ, let us then CORRESPOND GENEROUSLY TO OUR PERSONAL DIVINE VOCATION. MAY OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S CALL BE: “I WILL FOLLOW YOU WHEREVER YOU GO”…a response renewed in each moment but most especially when the going gets tough.
Let us ask the intercession of OUR LADY AND MOTHER, VIRGO FIDELIS, VIRGIN MOST FAITHFUL, so that we may be faithful as well in following Christ, ABANDONING and GIVING UP EVERYTHING for HIM, LIVING BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT, avoiding occasions and temptations which might lead to betrayal and infidelity to our divine calling.
Let us pray as well for those who are undergoing a crisis in their vocation so that with God’s grace and their generous correspondence, they may overcome the obstacles and be faithful to God.
A Blessed week ahead, God bless you and your family!
Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Titian,_Christ_Carrying_the_Cross._Oil_on_canvas,_67_x_77_cm,_c._1565._Madrid,_Museo_Nacional_del_Prado.jpg
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