13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

13C19.   1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21.   As a prophet, Elijah is the spokesperson and messenger of God.  God tells Elijah to anoint Elisha. That anointing is not recorded here but rather Elijah invests Elisha with the power to be a prophet by throwing his own special cloak of one who is a prophet over Elisha, as our priests who are to receive Holy Orders are invested with the priests’ chasuble and stole.  According to the commentaries I have read, Elisha drove one yoke of oxen while eleven servants drove the other eleven.  In those times the prophets were readily recognized, though not always obeyed.  When Elisha kisses his parents goodbye, they would have recognized the seriousness of his calling and not have tried to interfere with it.  By slaughtering the oxen and giving the meat to his people to eat, Elisha was terminating his means and future in farming as a way of finalizing his goodbye, completing the fullness of his acceptance of God’s calling.

Luke 9:51-62.  “When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”  As with Elisha, Jesus had already declared that he had left his family in Nazareth to proclaim the kingdom of God, when in Luke 8:21b, he said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” I believe that the words at the beginning of this reading that say, “When the days  for his being taken up were fulfilled,” means that he had accomplished what he want to do outside of Jerusalem and now must make his way to Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy he had just made earlier in Luke 9:22 when, “He said, ‘ the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.’”

The Jews in Jerusalem and those in Samaria had rejected one another’s claims to being Jews and reviled one another as being charlatans or fake Jews.  Jesus rejected the disciples request for vengeance because he had come to invite and not force people to follow him.  When someone said that he wanted to follow Jesus, Jesus responded that, in following him, one must accept days a homeless, nomadic life style that Jesus was living in those days.  To another, when Jesus told him to follow him, he requested permission to bury his father.  Jesus knew that his family would demand that he stay to replace his father who had just died.  Custom and tradition would require him to take the place of his father.  To another who wanted to say farewell, Jesus said to him that he could not have his heart in two places.  Choose Jesus or your family at home.

Galatians 5:1, 13-18.  Again the call is to serve one or the other. Here it is the Spirit or the flesh.  To serve the Spirit gives us the freedom to serve what is for our eternal joy; to serve the flesh makes us slaves to our destruction.  Paul calls the Galatians to love one another because, as he writes to them, “if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.”  If we live by the Spirit and not the flesh we gain the glorious inheritance that belongs to the children of God.

Psalm 16.   “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”