Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Catholic 742: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. - Sunday, June 30, 2019

Photo by Christophe Maertens on Unsplash  
Homily Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.  - Sunday, June 30, 2019

First reading. 1 Kings 19:16,19-21
Responsorial Psalm. Psalm 15:1-2,5,7-11. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Second reading. Galatians 5:1,13-18
Gospel. Luke 9:51-62
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers, and reflections for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.  - Sunday, June 30, 2019, by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/13c-faith-hope-and-love-ep-164/s-UJvzg  (EPISODE: 164)
(If anyone who has subscribed to the weekly email is getting double-copies each time, could you please contact me at paulwkelly8@gmail.com Thanks).

The Gospel this weekend shows various people coming up to Jesus and giving reasons why they cannot follow him immediately, but also how they intend to follow him as soon as possible.

I think the key to this gospel is the first words of the passage: "As the time drew near for Jesus to be taken up to heaven." In other words, there was no time left. There was an absolute urgency and immediacy to Jesus' last days. There was no time but the present and there was not a time for hesitations, excuses or delays.  It was now or never.  So, irrespective of whether the excuses given by people were good or whether they were weak, nothing must be allowed to stop the mission of Christ from being accomplished. So, one needs to get their priorities right. Jesus' gospel has an urgency that demands first priority.  And we must not let the many reasons that surround us, frustrate that plan. There may very well always be good reasons to put off until tomorrow (or later) what really needs to be done today. And of course.. tomorrow may never come….

There is a story told of an Olympic champion who lived in an Eastern Block nation during the time of the Cold War. … They wanted to defect to the West…. When they finally decided to do so… it was only by literally turning their back on their special car and their unique privileges and leaving immediately, without hesitation, carrying only what fitted into a had in the small suitcase they carried…. If they had tried to take anything more it would have alerted the authorities to their planned defection and the escape would have failed and ended tragically. If something is urgent and important hesitation or looking back could be catastrophic. Christ knew that.

This weekend's readings are about setting out on an urgent and very important journey….  Jesus has been up 'til this point, traveling about proclaiming the good news… Now he has resolutely set his face towards Jerusalem and his impending suffering and death. As he journeys,  various people come up to him and say: "I want to come with you." Jesus impresses upon them that he is not forcing anyone to come along with him. Rather, he is giving them absolute freedom. But, if they choose to follow him it will require total, complete and single-minded commitment. There can be no "ifs or buts," and no hesitation. To those who say "I will follow you anywhere, but first I have to do such and such," Jesus cuts them off and virtually says…. "forget it!  Go home. I am heading in this direction immediately. Come with me now or lose the moment. There is only now. No time for wavering" ….. The intensity and the urgency of Jesus' mission cannot be more strongly emphasized.

The first reading has a strikingly similar incident.  Elisha is chosen by the prophet Elijah to follow him as a disciple, symbolised by the beautiful image of the Prophet Elijah throwing his cloak over the young man as he walks by.  Elisha is obviously both honoured and frightened. He says, "first let me say goodbye to my parents." Elijah is affronted and says to him: "have I done anything to you? Am I forcing you to come with me? Go back and forget it."  This has the desired effect of shocking Elisha into realising that this offer is once-and-only.  (Elijah in his wisdom knew that Elisha, would probably have hesitated and not returned if he had looked back), and so Elisha went and followed Elijah immediately.

At various times we all find ourselves setting out on new journeys. Whether those journeys be physical, spiritual, vocational, or otherwise.  These journeys create some hesitations and fears. They involve moving out of comfort zones and into unfamiliar territory.  But we also know that we follow Jesus wherever he has led us in life,  without significant hesitation. God never has been one to lead us down the wrong paths, even if sometimes we have occasionally turned down some seemingly "dead-end streets" in some of our decisions and actions.  ………. but we are sure that ultimately we will be led by the Lord to our destination.

We trust in the shepherd who leads us all in the right paths…and who is always true to his name.

The gospel today also raises the really important question of the extent to which we are capable of fooling ourselves… and self-deceiving ourselves… it can be a very subtle but effective thing…. Jesus wants us to be honest and clear-sighted about our lives and our motives and priorities… it can be so easy to be self-indulgent, whilst glossing over this by making up all sorts of noble excuses and reasons…. Which really are not the truth of our decisions…

No wonder our Lord said in another scripture, "let your yes be yes, and your no be no, everything else comes from the evil one...."  how wise- anything other than a clear yes or no is often an excuse or a justification, or an alibi..... don't excuses and explanations so often cloud the original objective and value.

Let us never underestimate the power of self-deception… it is a barrier and an obstacle to the generous challenge of self-forgetting service, demanded by the gospel of Jesus…

The more we accept that we can tend to fall into self-justification to mask self-indulgence or water down Christ's message, the more we will be open to Jesus' call to follow him and place our priorities at his service; and meanwhile staying ever-vigilant and wary  of the trap of self-serving justifications and excuses.

Fr Paul W. Kelly




Photo by Christophe Maertens on Unsplash:  Photo by Christophe Maertens on Unsplash

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Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International commission on English in the liturgy.
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 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from "The Psalms: A New Translation" ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

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May God bless and keep you.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.
Sunday, June 30, 2019)

(EPISODE: 164 )

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
{{May Our Lord's justice sustain you}}

My friends in Christ, to worthily celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us first acknowledge our sins. 
Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to the Father and to one another: Lord, have mercy//You heal the wounds of our sin and division: Christ, have mercy// You intercede for us with the Father: Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

1. We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.


Sundays Ordinary III

Euch Prayer Three

Communion side.  pwk: 
Thank you for giving generously of  your time and prayer.}

Go in peace. (glorifying the Lord by your life)

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