Sunday Reading Reflection

June 30, 2019 — 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 19:16B, 19-21

Responsorial Psalm PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Luke 9:51-62

“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening; you have the words of everlasting life” (1 Sam 3:9; John 6:68C).

This Sunday’s Mass readings show us the way to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and without reserve. Elisha offers his whole means of living to the Lord, holding nothing back for a safety net. The would-be followers of Christ, however, rely too much on the flesh to completely let go of comforts and security and follow him. If they were to deny their fleshly desires by placing God at their right hand, they would receive Jesus’ spirit of freedom and not be disturbed.


In the Gospel reading from Luke 9:51-62, Jesus encounters many hope-filled, would-be followers on his journey from the Galilee to Jerusalem. Three are ready to leave everything to join his group of disciples. By the world’s standards, they are smart men who are planning and preparing wisely. They only want to settle their accounts so they can be free to follow Jesus. All they ask for is the assurance of a place to sleep at the end of the day, say goodbye to their family, and follow one of the Law’s greatest commandments – to first bury one’s parents. Is that asking too much?

It is, for Jesus tells them that although wild animals have dens and nests in which to rest, he does not, and he’s not going to guarantee it for his followers. To the last two, he says something that sounds harsh and even rude – let the dead bury their own dead, and if you need to look back at what you’ve left you’re not fit for the kingdom of God. To follow Jesus, one must carry his cross and come after him (Luke14:27). We have to be prepared to walk away from everything and never look back! To me, that’s a tall order.

But Elisha, from the first reading, shows what it takes to be a true follower.  When Elijah gave Elisha the sign that he would be the prophet to replace him, Elisha at first wanted to say goodbye to his family before answering the call. However, he instead changed his mind. Rather than going to his family, he decided then and there to choose to follow Elijah. He gave himself no choice to return to his former way of life – he offered his plowing team as a sacrifice to God and even burnt the wooden plowing implements as fuel for the sacrifice. Maybe he knew he might want to change his mind; therefore, he got rid of that ability. There was no turning back now.  The old way of life was no longer possible.

Being a solid follower of Jesus is not for the timid and cautious. We have to give it our all. After studying these Scriptures, I see I’m not as gung-ho as I thought I was.  But fortunately, Psalm 16 comforts me, “Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;…you it is who hold fast my lot” and Galatians strengthens me to be guided by the Spirit since Christ set me free from submission to the flesh and Old Testament laws.

If we keep the LORD always before us, at our right hand, we shall never be shaken. He will show us the path to life, abounding joy in his presence (cf. Psalm 16:8-9). �l�I