13C22. 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21. The Lord Yahweh orders the prophet Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor. Elijah throws his cloak over Elisha as a way of symbolizing that he is putting Elisha under his domain as an apprentice to him. Owning so many oxen indicates that Elisha was quite wealthy and successful. Nonetheless, Elisha definitively and drastically terminated his former livelihood and way of life to belong utterly to God’s will for him.
Luke 9:51-62. This Sunday’s gospel reading presents a number of incidents from Jesus’ ministry. Jesus acts in each incident with a firmness of purpose. He calls people to follow him but they have to be properly motivated and willing to be fully committed. The Samaritans rejected anyone who was willing to deal with the Jerusalem Jews whom they regarded as their enemies. The first individual wanted to follow Jesus but had no idea that he would have to leave behind all the comforts of home. The second wanted to go back to bury his father but Jesus knew that his family would demand that he stay with them to replace the father. Yet a third wanted to say farewell to his family but Jesus knew that was where his heart was. Following Jesus demands that one is willing to die to many of the emotions that have been for so long a part of who we were.
Galatians 5:1, 13-18. “Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Our bodily desires and the worldly emotions and ways of thinking and behaving of the people around us can control us. The Holy Spirit breathes into us a spiritual life with its ways of thinking and feeling that are at complete odds with the ways of this world. Psalm 16:11 speaks to the Holy Spirit saying for us: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” Life in the Spirit demands some sacrifices but has far greater rewards.