Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Kgs 19:16b, 19-21. The LORD 
Gal 5:1, 13-18. 
Lk 9:51-62.

One of the themes in Sundays readings is that of call. In the first reading from the Book of Kings Elisha is called to be Elijah’s attendant. Later in the same book, following Elijah’s death, Elisha takes his place as a prophet. His call is difficult but he remains faithful.

In the second reading in the Letter to the Galatians Paul reminds us of our call to love and serve one another.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In the Gospel of Luke three individuals seem to be called to follow Jesus but each gives an excuse before they are really committed to do so. Jesus responds with, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Do we tend to look behind, to look back at times and places we thought they were perfect? In all honesty, no time or place is perfect. If we admit it, there were circumstances that were far from perfect. We can’t let our past as an excuse for not fully committing to the present. The past is gone and the present moment is all we have. It is up to use to use the present well.

Each of us has been called to be followers of Jesus. We need to frequently ask ourselves if we love our neighbor as we love ourselves and if we are willing to serve others. This is not always easy to do because our neighbor includes everyone with whom you come in contact. This includes the crabby neighbor, the family member who makes you uncomfortable, the person at the register who takes forever to check you out. On a larger scale it includes people of different races, religious genders, ethnic groups, and so on.

Are we like those in Luke’s gospel who make excuses or are we genuine, committed followers who truly do try to love and serve others. There is one great commandment true followers try to live by day in and day out – Love God, self and others as you love yourself.

Who are the people you find difficult to love and serve? Why? What can you do about it?

How can you make yourself more conscious of living the commandment to love and serve?

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