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06/30/19 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Damian

We have readings about discipleship today. What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ? Perhaps for many people, following the Lord meant keeping the rules of the Church and being careful to avoid sin. While there is nothing wrong with keeping the rules of the Church and avoiding sin, this is surely not a description of following the Lord.

In the New Testament, over and over, we find that we must remain with the Lord because He remains with us. We are called to walk with Him and to listen to Him and to allow His teaching and His words to form the way we think, the way we feel and the way we act. Following the Lord Jesus means allowing Him to change every aspect of our lives so that we more clearly reflect His way of living, of thinking and of being.

Following someone else is not easy. The first reading today comes from the First Book of Kings. Elisha realizes that he must following Elijah and be his disciple. Elijah does not encourage him, but Elisha follows anyway. We must realize that following the Lord Jesus means that at times we will feel rejected, even by the Lord Himself. We must keep on walking and letting the Lord form us.


The second reading today is from the Letter to the Galatians and Paul is exhorting his followers to stop talking badly about one another. Gossiping and saying bad things about others only ends up harming ourselves.


We do not think that way when we are gossiping or saying bad things. But if we take the time to look deeply into life, we will find that putting others down, talking badly about others, really only destroys us and not them.


The Gospel of Luke is sometimes called the Gospel of Mercy. The third reading today is taken from this Gospel. The followers of Jesus are ready to burn down a village because they will not listen to the Lord. Jesus has to rebuke them. We should never be surprised at the ways that the word of God are interpreted.


In the passage of the Gospel today we have people coming to Jesus who want to follow Him. Again the message is given to them: it is not easy to follow the Lord. Again this is important for us when we feel the difficulties of following the Lord Jesus. He tells us in advance: it will not be easy. The Gospel today ends telling us that if we start out, we should continue, no matter how difficult it is.


My sisters and brothers, let us allow these readings to touch us and form us today as we seek to follow the Lord. May our discipleship not be just words and good feelings, by the difficult task of truly following and making Jesus the most important person, the most important reality, in our lives. May He bless us!


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