THIRTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
Quite often we are called by people for a given purpose. And a call requires a response, which is not simply the sound, nor the gesture we make, but, more importantly, a step taken or an action for that matter. This is because we are called while we are in a context (environmental, responsible, company…)
Our readings today give us an opportunity to reflect on our Christian calling, our response to it, and what it demands of us as we move forward in the following of Christ.
The first reading presents to us the vocation of Elisha to be a prophet of God after Elijah. This opens a new chapter in his life from being a farmer. There is a new beginning. His response is quite inspiring and challenging at the same time. He totally breaks with his past life to take up a new responsibility. At the calling of God nothing else counts, not even the familiar things nor people, not even possessions, not even the family members. He dramatically slaughters his oxen and throws a party. He wanted to remain completely free for nothing else but the task. We accepted to follow Christ, have we ‘slaughtered our oxen’, the past and familiar realities in us or around us which will draw us back?
The response to our calling requires a commitment. Jesus, in the gospel, begins the journey to Jerusalem. This is the longest part of the gospel of Luke, during which Jesus will meet all sorts of people. Some will listen to him and follow him while others will reject him and seek to kill him. How would he react to the various circumstances during this long journey? What remains important is the commitment and the resolute he set in Luke 9:51. He set his face to Jerusalem. Maybe he kept reminding himself of the supposed motto ‘Jerusalem I must reach’ because this is where he was to fulfill the will of the Father, which was surely by death on the cross. Everything else counts no more. He does this in complete freedom and love. That is why he wouldn’t allow even his disciples to destroy those who were not for him (Samaritans). These are simply an indication that the journey is not a very easy one. The rejection started right from its beginning.
Where are we?
We are a faith community called to journey to Jerusalem, whatever that is for you, but we alive to the fact that it is where we are to fulfill the will of the Father. As such we respond to this call in freedom. This will at times mean waive of property, disengagement from all affections including the family, and complete breaking with the past, in order to remain focused and committed to our vocation. These are what we see in the response of Jesus to the three men in the gospel who would want to follow him but with a ‘but’ attached. Am I willing to slaughter my oxen to remain free to follow the Lord? Someone said that God doesn’t call the ready but the willing.
May the Lord accompany us in our journey to Jerusalem, so that we may remain committed to the response of faith we’ve given, but also to tolerate those whom we may consider the other in this journey.
Have a blessed Sunday
Fr Joash CP