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Jun. 26, 2016

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Our Gospel this Sunday comes in two sections, and it is tied together by the overarching theme of “the cost of discipleship.”   In the first section James and John wanted to “call down fire from heaven” because a Samaritan village refused to welcome them.   Jesus rebuked them for this suggestion.  In the second section three people approached Jesus inquiring about following him.   They discover, though, that the cost of discipleship was perhaps too steep for them.   

The point of this Gospel is that following Jesus is not always easy.  There are certain “demands” that are part and parcel of a being disciple of Jesus.  While some of these demands are the same for everyone, (e.g. love one another, forgive our brother or sister from our heart, share with those who are less fortunate), some are specific for particular individuals.   The challenge for each of us is to be realistic and honest about what Jesus is asking of us if we are to follow him.  

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the first book of Kings.   It is the story of the call of Elisha to be a prophet to succeed Elijah.   It parallels the theme of the Gospel in that Elisha realized that being a “prophet” brings with it certain demands.   

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians.   In the section we read today, Paul responds to certain Christians from Jerusalem who have followed him to Galatia and have urged the Galatian community to adapt certain parts of the Mosiac Law.    Paul is clear and blunt: “For freedom Christ set us free, so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What specific thing(s) is Jesus asking of you in order for you to follow him? 

  2. Of the “demands of discipleship” that apply to all of us, what do you find most difficult? 

  3. In the closing sentence of today’s second reading Paul says:  “But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”    How does one know, though, that they are being guided by the Spirit?   (www.mary.org)