Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I Kings 19: 16, 19-21
Deacon Stephen preached this week, and gave a very good homily. I am sorry, but I was unable to open his homily. This is a homily I gave three years ago.
On Friday evening during our 5k run/walk something happened that was epic our own Johnny Agar that has cerebral palsy walked the last mile of the race. He was determined to walk; he was determined to finish the race, and nothing was going to stop him and there were many there to witness to this epic event. Our readings come to us today and beg for us to answer, “How determined are we to follow Christ this day?”
In the first reading, we hear the call of Elisha to become a prophet. Elisha is out plowing in the fields, when God directs Elijah to come to him and Elijah takes off his mantle, his cloak and puts it on Elisha. In this gesture what Elijah has done is made Elisha a prophet of God. Elisha asks to return home, and he becomes very determined to be a prophet for God. To be a prophet for God is almost like signing your own death wish because now Elisha will have the challenge to always be aware of God’s presence throughout his life and to speak at times harsh words to the people of God. He will definitely come to know some very hard times. Elisha’s is so determined to be a prophet for God, there is not rerunning to his former way of life of farming. Elisha takes the farm equipment and starts a fire with it; he slaughters all the oxen and feeds the poor and needy.
In the very first line of the Gospel today is all we need to know about the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are told, “When the days came for Jesus to be taken up to be fulfilled, he was determined to journey to Jerusalem.” The good news in this is Jesus is determined to do the will of his Father and travel to what he knows will be passion, death and resurrection. As he is traveling through a Samaritan village, he is not welcomed, it is well known that Jews and Samaritans did not like each other, but Jesus is determined to change all of that. Then to make matters worse than James and John, the Sons of Thunder” say, “Lord, do you wish for us to call down fire from the heavens to burn them up?” Jesus has to rebuke them because this is not the way of Christ. Then Jesus has an encounter with three different people one who asks to follow him the others Jesus invites to follow him, and all of them have excuses of what they need to do before following him. The responds of Jesus is the same to all, if you want to follow me, follow me right now.
So, my friends in Christ how determined are we to follow Christ today. How often did we just in the last week make up excuses not to follow Christ. Every time we failed to show understanding, mercy, forgiveness, or failed to love. May we be determined to follow Christ this week.