Homily (Reflection) for the Thirteenth Sunday of the Year, (C) (26th June, 2016) on the Gospel
1Kgs 19:16.19-21;Ps 15:1-2.5.7-11. (R. cf. v. 5);
Topic: Call to discipleship.
In today’s gospel, the messengers Jesus sent to make things ready for Him was rejected by a Samaritan village. James and John (Boanerges, cf. Mk 3:17) wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume them but Jesus rebuked them. They moved to another village. While on their way, one person volunteered to be Christ’s disciple but He said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” The one Jesus called excused himself, “Lord, first let me go and bury my Father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And yet another said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” To him Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Earlier while sending the twelve on mission Jesus instructed them, “Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them” (Lk 9:5; cf. Matt 10:14). Probably, James and John were not comfortable shaking of the dust. They wanted to follow the example of Elijah, cf. 2Kg 1. Other ancient authorities did not just read that Jesus rebuked the duo, rather He “rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what spirit you are of, for the Son of Man has not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them’”
Jesus demands of everyone who wants to be His disciple a number of things. They include, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24; cf. Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23). Again, “he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:38). And again, “If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also...” (Jn 12:26). In the gospel according to Saint Luke, Jesus was more drastic, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26).
A disciple once asked Socrates: “Sir, you ask everyone who wants to become your disciple to look into the pond and tell you what he sees. Why is it so?”
Socrates replied: “It is quite simple. One who sees the fish swimming around, I accept him. Others who see their own reflection are in love with their ego. I have no use for them.”
Discipleship demands one renouncing everything including one’s very self, cf. Lk 14:33. Hence, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2Cor 5:17). Disciples live according to God’s will and not according theirs, cf. Lk 22:42.
Regrettably, many Christians do not even care today to know what God’s will is. Otherwise, how does one explain the curses and abusive words even from anointed men of God? ‘Holy Ghost fire’ has become the other of the day. How are these and many other things we do today better than what James and John intended for which Jesus rebuked them? Or are we called to follow Elijah?
Power belongs to God, cf. Ps 62:11; 2Cor 4:7. And nothing is impossible for Him, cf. Matt 19:26. But God has not empowered anyone to use His power for his/her personal vendetta. Judgement belongs to God alone, 1Chr 16:33; Ps 96:13; 2Tim 4:1.
We are called to follow Christ who “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly” (1Pt 2:23). God forbids retaliation, cf. Deut 32:35; Rom 12:19; Heb 10:30. Christians are called not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good, cf. Rom 12:21.
Bible Reading: Lk 14:25-33; Ro 12:19.
Thought for today: Are you really Christ’s disciple?
Let us pray: Lord, grant us your grace to live as authentic Christians – Amen.
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