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Jesus calls us to be committed disciples
Based on the readings: 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Gospel of Lk 9:51-62
This Sunday’s readings focus on the call and commitment to discipleship.
In the first reading, Elijah, on God’s instructions, designates Elisha as his successor as prophet. Elisha bids farewell to his parents and renounces all he has by performing a ritual sacrifice. He slaughters 12 yoke of oxen, cooks their flesh by using the wood of his plow and feeds his people. This was a clear sign Elisha was leaving his old life and beginning a new life in which he will preach the Lord’s word and perform many miracles.
In Galatians, Paul says in Christ we have a new freedom – not to do anything we want but a freedom for a new kind of service. It is “faith which expresses itself through love” (v. 6) through service to others. He suggests imitation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit – charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus and his disciples, traveling to Jerusalem, have to pass through Samaria where they plan to stop in one of the villages. The Samaritans and Jews have been enemies since Old Testament times. When the Samaritans hear that Jesus and his disciples are planning to stop in the village, they chase them away.
The disciples are angry. James and John want to see the Samaritans punished. They think of Jesus’ ministry as an earthly kingdom, one with power and prestige.
Jesus knows he has to prepare the disciples for his suffering, death and Resurrection. Jesus explains that the power of love – not forceful, conquering power – will be the rule in his kingdom. Jesus scolds his disciples for wanting revenge upon the Samaritans – not to embarrass them but so they’ll totally commit themselves to follow him.
Jesus calls us to be his totally committed disciples. Pope Francis says, “The fruitfulness of the Gospel is by the grace of Jesus Christ, yet through us, our preaching, our courage and our patience. Evangelization is not easy, and that it will be opposed by the devil, but this spiritual battle is ‘the daily lot of Christians.’”
“Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.” (Responsorial Psalm 16:11).