Gospel Reflection for the 13th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – June 30th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
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’.
There’s something about consistency we like. We like people to follow through what they say and what they believe in. We mistrust promises which are made with hidden agendas and meaning, like sometimes political promises. Jesus has a similar view and in strong images this Sunday he asks for consistency. If we are to follow him then property (where to lay his head), family (burying the father) and relationships (saying goodbye), while important and relevant, are secondary.
These may sound very tough like a demand not to go to a parent’s funeral; Jesus wishes them to be put in context of honouring our parents also, but he uses them as dramatic examples of following in his path.
These were said to people who wanted to follow him, who had found a desire to live as he asked. This is a great grace. Can we be grateful for the loving call of God to follow his way of life?
It can give a great meaning to life, and an added meaning to marriage, love, parenthood and jobs. Jesus is asking that we place real and sincere love at the top of our priorities.
This will bring the greatest happiness possible – to live in love and for love, in the big and the ordinary ways of life. How often we can be really happy at the end of the day for what we did that helped others.
Lord, teach me to love as you do, to remain true to others and to you. May your kingdom come in your people.
Donal Neary SJ