Gospel Reflection for 13th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – June 26th 2016
As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, he resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.
As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
About 50 years ago this Summer I left home to join the Jesuits. Young, very immature. But something about the gospel of Jesus attracted me enough to want to do this. 50 years later it’s still the same. Jesus still attracts, and in a different way. The path of Jesus is the path of love – and for all of us it’s in a different way. But it’s sharing the in the same love – given and received.
GIVE AND TAKE
Following Jesus is an invitation, and that’s why we follow. Giving and receiving.
‘Christian life is not a spa therapy “to be at peace until Heaven,” but it calls us to go out into the world to proclaim that Jesus “became the sinner” to reconcile us with the Father.’ (June 2013).
The gospel highlights that Christianity is a challenge, not just a warm blanket. Jesus values God more than safe sleep, than family events, even more than courtesy to relatives and friends. These receive their worth at the very core of themselves from love. Love of God above all, love of our neighbour as ourselves, no matter what.
HOME OF LOVE
With Jesus you join a school of love, a home of love. Not just easy love but something that will call on the best of us. We need people who will follow, in all sorts of ways, including priesthood and religious life. In Christian marriage and parenting, and in grand-parenting, in handing on faith in family and lay ministry. It’s love to the end.
But he rejoices to call each of us. We can live with ourselves with all our faults and failings because he can live with them. All will be used in his service.
Lord, teach me to know you more, love your more, and serve you more faithfully in my life.
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger