The 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26 June 2022
Lectionary Readings: I Kgs. 19:16. 19-21; Ps. 16:1-2. 5. 7-11; Gal.5:1. 13-18; Lk. 9:51-62
Theme: Following Jesus is the purpose of life
When the Lectionary for the Sunday Liturgy was being planned, it was decided to have a similar theme in the first and Gospel readings. The second reading might be very different but being Scripture some further insight into the theme could be gained. The Responsorial Psalm seemed to sum up the message.
I am going to test this in this Sunday’s liturgy. In the reading from 1 Kings we see the LORD instructing Elijah to anoint Elisha as the prophet, who will take his place. Elijah found Elisha ploughing his father’s field with twelve oxen. Elijah passed him by and threw his cloak over him – a sign that Elijah was handing on his role as prophet to Elisha according to what the LORD had commanded. Elisha requests first, to kiss his father and his mother and then he shall follow him. At this request it is almost as if Elijah is withdrawing from the choice by his action and leaving it to Elisha to accept or reject the calling. Elisha obviously understands that he needs to follow the call – so he first feeds his workers (a way of paying them and saying farewell) and then leaves to become Elijah’s servant.
In the first section of our Gospel reading (vv. 51-56) Jesus is rejected by a Samaritan village because he is on his way to Jerusalem. Immediately the ‘sons of thunder’ (Boanerges) want to destroy the city by fire. Jesus rebukes them because they still do not understand that the ‘fire’ he brings is a fire of love and cleansing and not of destruction. The second section of the Gospel (vv. 57-62) has echoes of our first reading about being called and accepting or rejecting because of other interests. When Jesus calls it is urgent because time is running out – there is much work to be done in the harvest and if we are called, we are expected to leave what we are doing and follow Christ – he will look after everyone else. This reminds me of John 21:20-22 where Jesus answers Peter to his question about the beloved disciple: “‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’” (v. 22)
In Galatians we read that our following of Christ is about freedom and that freedom is to love and serve one another and not to indulge in the material and transitory things of this world.
And so we sum up our message from the readings of today with words from Ps. 16: “I say to the LORD, ‘you are my LORD; I have no good apart from you.’”(v. 2) “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” (v.5) Finally, we come to the last verse 11: “You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand bliss forever.”
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Our ‘calling’ is basically to ‘follow Christ’, but each day and many times during the day we are called to renew that commitment. How do you experience this? 2) Which of the three verses quoted above from Psalm 16 speaks to or challenges you? How? Is there a renewed decision you need to make?
Bibliography:Hayford, Jack W. (Gen. Ed.) Spirit Filled Life Bible (Nashville: 1979); Paulines: The Daily Missal (Africa: 2012); biblegateway.com NRSVE
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Bernadette Teresa Chellew, Ethekwini, South Africa. Bat Kol alumna 2008