Theme: WE ARE TO LEAVE EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW JESUS
- 1 Kings 19:16. 19-21;
- Psalm 15:1-2. 5. 7-11. R/ cf. v. 5;
- Galatians 5:1. 13-18
- Luke 9:51-62
Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, to suffer, to die, to rise from the dead, to ascend into heaven and to send down the Holy Spirit to save the word!
The gospel tells us that when Jesus and his disciples were rejected by a Samaritan village, James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn them up, but Jesus rebuked them and told them that he “came not to destroy souls but to save them”! (NJB) Indeed, Jesus came to save souls, and not only the souls of the Jews, but also the souls of the Samaritans, the enemies of the Jews!
The gospel also tells us that we are to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus! That is why to the first man who wanted to follow him, Jesus told him that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nest, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head!
And to the second man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to bury his father first, Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead, that is, to let the spiritually dead to bury the physically dead, and that his duty was to preach the good news of the kingdom!
And to the third man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to say good-bye to his family first, Jesus told him that anyone who puts his hand on the plough and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God!
Again, we are to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus!
Indeed the first reading tells us that the prophet Elisha left everything, including his family, in order to follow the prophet Elijah and to succeed him! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you’ he said. …. Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.” (1 K 19:20-21; SM)
The responsorial psalm tells us that God is the supreme good! (CSB) In fact Jesus tells us that God is the only good! (Mk 10:18) That is why we leave everything, including our families, in order to follow him!
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1-2. 5; SM) tells us that the psalmist prefers the God of Israel to all the false gods! Thus the response which is taken from the first stanza:
“O Lord, it is you who are my portion.” (Ps 15:5; SM)
That is, O Lord, it is you who are my portion, my heritage, my inheritance!
The second, third, and fourth stanzas (vv. 7-11) tell us of the wise and life-giving presence of God, that is, God and God alone gives wisdom and life. That is why he is the supreme good and the only good! And that is why we give up everything, including our families, in order to follow him!
The second reading tells us that besides loving and serving God, we must also love and serve our neighbor! In fact we cannot love and serve God without also loving and serving our neighbor! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarized in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Ga 5: 13-14; SM)
Today we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world. And we ask God to help us to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus to love and serve God and to love and serve our neighbor!
Indeed, this is the meaning of life, this is the secret to happiness, and this is what God created us for, that is, to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be happy with him forever; and to know our neighbor, to love our neighbor, to serve our neighbor, and to be happy with our neighbor forever!
A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.