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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

13th Sunday

 

Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

 

On this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time we hear a couple of stories of God calling Prophets and Disciples.  In our first reading, God says to Elijah: “You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.”   The story continues with the anointing and Elisha’s request to tie up loose ends.   He is allowed to dispose of his oxen and bid farewell to his family.   After that momentary pause Elisha proved to be a faithful servant to Elijah and ultimately to God.

In the Gospel story we hear of three calls but Jesus is more demanding of those who wish to follow Him.  As Jesus begins His journey to Jerusalem (place where He will suffer and die) He makes it clear that He has no intention of forcing anyone to follow Him.  It must be a free will choice.  James and John recognized this when Jesus would not allow them to destroy those unwilling to listen to Him.    When three men approached Jesus with the intention to follow Him Jesus reminded them that there must be a total commitment and no delay in making that commitment.  Unlike Elijah and Elisha there was no opportunity to even bid family and friends farewell.

As Jesus begins His public ministry, He calls His followers to a conversion of their lives.   He asks them to let go of life as they know it and follow Him without looking back.  What Jesus is demanding is that once they say yes, He wants faithfulness to point them forward.   This is seen in Elisha’s calling.   He says farewell to his family, severing all times and he pledges unwavering allegiance to Elijah.  Yahweh wants a commitment to be without hesitation.

Our readings remind us that God’s calls can be unexpected, even demanding.   When God calls us He wants a a wholly dedicated response.   The more challenging the call, the more we can be assured that God recognizes our free will.   If we say “yes” God expects our “yes” to be faithful and complete. If we say “yes” God will provide the ability and motivation to complete the task.

Let us pray that we will always be open to God’s call to follow Him!

We celebrate our Independence as a nation this week.   Let us never forget that while we celebrate many gifts of freedom, our greatest gift is the freedom to live our faith publicly.   Scripture frequently reminds us of the need to pray for those in authority that they might be leaders for good.  We also have the obligation to pray as is in the hymn “America the Beautiful” that God might “mend thine every flaw.”   While a Civil Holiday and not a religious Feast, we invite all to come and pray for our country at Mass which will be at 9:00am.

May God bless, protect and keep us!

Fr. Ron