Homily Thirteenth Sunday Year C Discipleship

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Homily: 13th Sunday Year C

Reading 1: Elijah is a prophet of God who served God faithfully. Now, he is called by God to pass the baton, the torch of prophecy to another, namely Elisha, whom God had chosen. By throwing his cloak over Elisha, Elijah was symbolizing a call to share in the prophetic ministry by becoming a disciple. But Elijah made it clear. This is not my calling but God’s.

Elisha, in his turn, realized that he had to make a decision. So he slaughtered the oxen, on which he was depending on for livelihood and now must depend on the Lord. He realized that the commitment was to be complete by separating himself from his family so as to fully serve the Lord. To follow means to become totally dependent upon God. In following Elijah as his attendant, Elisha was going to learn the way of a prophet.

When we became sons and daughters of God in baptism, we were anointed with the oil of chrism and a white garment was draped over us. We were told that now we share in the life of Jesus as priest, prophet and king. It was an invitation to follow Jesus as a disciple, to learn the way of the Lord.

What has happened since that symbolic moment in our life? To what extent have we followed the Lord in our role as priest, prophet and king? To what extent are the words of the responsorial psalm a fact in our lives? “You are our inheritance, O Lord.”

Reading 2: In baptism we were set free from the life of alienation from God because of Original sin. But we have fallen into sin time and again in spite of sharing in the divine life of God. We have gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be set free again. But failed. What is the freedom that Paul is talking about?

He acknowledges that though we have become sons and daughters of God, we still struggle with the temptations of life, which he lumps into the one word, flesh. The flesh stands for anything that draws us away from fully living our true identity as sons and daughters of God in the flesh. On the other hand, anything that enables us to embrace the life of sons and daughters of God is called spirit.

He reminds us of the daily struggles we face within us and outside of us. He knew the struggle well and faced it, coming to the conclusion that he was helpless on his own. He found his answer in Jesus who can save us from this cycle. Knowing that he has set us free, what shall be our response? Simple but difficult—love. Love of God and others enables us to be guided by the Spirit and not the flesh.

Gospel: We come back to the theme of the first reading—the importance of following Jesus. First, it is not initiated by me. It is God who invites me to follow him. Second, to accept means to understand the consequences, namely, total dependency upon God. Third, it means to embrace the mission of a disciple, namely, to proclaim the Kingdom of God, nothing else is a priority. Fourth, there will be times we will try to take things in our own hands, like the disciples who wanted to cast fire on the Samaritan town. But Jesus reminds them they were not seeking the will of God in this matter, but giving way to the human response of rejection, namely retaliation, the way of the flesh and not of the spirit.

God is calling us to follow him into the fuller life of love and intimacy, so that we can do the work of the kingdom, proclaiming God’s love and freedom, his lie and plan for us. Does that mean we have to leave everything? No, we are called to do this in our present state of life. It is the response of desiring to fall in love with God, the response of consciously dealing with the struggles of the flesh, so that we may live more freely in the spirit. It is the response of making love our response by sharing with others what God is doing in our lives and helping them to see the joy of a life in union with God.

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