SOUL FOOD for Hungry Adult Communities: June 30, 2013: 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C.


See Mass Readings for texts. Readings are: 1st Kings:19:16, 19-21.  Galatians  5:1, 13-18.  Luke 9: 51-62. 

JESUS CHRIST DOES NOT DO ‘WISHY-WASHY’. He doesn’t do wishy washy for himself, and he doesn’t look for wishy washy from his followers.

No manager of any team, in football, in business, in communities, wants wishy washy from the members. No footballer would last long on a team that didn’t put his or her heart into playing, with a great hunger.

He set his face resolutely for Jerusalem’, says Luke in Chapter 9, verse 51. This is the major turning point in Luke’s Gospel,- when Jesus, after foretelling his passion and death and resurrection to his small group of disciples, then sets his own face up hill all the way to Jerusalem. Before this point, Jesus was entirely in Galilee, in his ministry. The remainder of Luke shows Jesus on that road towards what faced him in Jerusalem.

We next find James and John ready to call down thunder on the Samaritan village that would not let these pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem stay in their village. The Samaritans had no time for the Jews, and the feelings were mutual. But when these two ‘sons of thunder’ (‘Boanerges’ as Mark 3:17 calls them) wanted to call down vengeance on the village, Jesus rebuked them. Samaritans were as dear to Jesus as any other persons. All humans are most dear to him.

Then comes the ‘wishy washy’ bit, in three small incidents,-  three people who said that, yes, they would follow Jesus, but …   ‘I’ll follow you, but first…’ Excuses, excuses. Jesus is in a hurry for followers to go out into the world and begin to bring good news to the world and to build up God’s ‘kingdom’, God’s dream for communities and society and the world. There’s a hurry about Jesus. There’s a harvest to be gathered. No time to be wasted.

At an earlier place in Luke (Chapter 4), we see Jesus ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, ‘led by the Holy Spirit’, and ‘filled with joy by the Holy Spirit’.  And that’s what he shares with his followers who walk with him wholeheartedly. Paul has the same words in his letter to the Galatians (who were a Celtic race living in that place, at that time): ‘if you are guided by the Spirit…. If you are led by the Spirit…’ And here, being guided by the Spirit, being led by the Spirit is shown as the opposite of self-indulgence. And self-indulgence is being wishy washy and worse.

‘Jesus resolutely took to road for Jerusalem’. Will we, led by the Spirit, be guided by the Spirit, filled with joy by the Spirit, resolutely take the road towards where and how God is calling us to be and to serve?

When the mantle of our own personal calling is put over our shoulders (as with young Elisha in the first Reading), will we say ‘yes, but…’, or will we ‘burn our boats’ and give the sacrifice of our whole heart, and go for it?

Not easy readings, today.

Fr. Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

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