June 26, 2016 – 13th Sunday of the Church Year

June 26, 2016 – 13th Sunday of the Church Year

Today’s Saint: Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21    –    Psalm 16    –    Galatians 5:1, 13-18    –    Luke 9:51-62

“Jesus said, ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (the closing words of today’s Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.)

 In the first place it’s important for us to understand how the Church sets out our Sunday Scripture readings. At this time of the Church Year we are more or less going sequentially through the Holy Gospel of St. Luke. Once the Church as that set she looks back to an Old Testament reading the compliments the Gospel. At the same time, the middle reading – usually taken form the Epistles – is on its own course so may or may not “click” with the Gospel or the OT reading. Today’s Scripture from Galatians has a little “link” in the opening words, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

 So, given all the above as “introduction” what can we glean from this Sunday’s Holy Scriptures? The closing words of today’s Holy Gospel give us the hint that we are not to look back. Leave your past – successes and, most importantly, your failures – and move ahead. Elisha takes this admonition seriously and slaughters his oxen and uses the wood of the plow to make sacrifice to God. “Then he left and followed Elijah as his attendant.”(I Kings 19:21)

 For the next connection, go back and read the entire Responsorial Psalm: “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” Then, the reading from Galatians begins with, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

 Plowing yokes were tailor-made for each animal so that they fit perfectly and didn’t cut or chafe. What St. Paul tells us is that we are not made for slavery – a yoke that never fits – so “stand firm … guided by the Spirit.”

In today’s Holy Gospel we are urged to drop our past in order to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. We are told not to look back and, more importantly, not to call down fire upon our past. Any “conversion” comes to us as a “two-edged sword” where we resolutely charge ahead into a new way of thinking and acting, while at the same time becoming “whistle-blowers” of the very way of our own past life. St. Paul quotes the “Shamash Israel” as the guiding principle: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” remembering that we, ourselves, were once like “those people!” Amen!

 


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