Monday, 21 June 2010

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

1Kings 19:16.19-21; 5:1.13-18; Luke 9:51-62

As the time drew near .... is a rather arresting phrase.

There is a time for everything in our life. Many an elderly patient in hospital would say to me, 'the time is getting closer, Father.'

Jesus had a strong awareness of this time that lay in his future; it seemed to animate him, to spur him on. It was from this awareness that all his activity took its urgency. He hastened to complete his work before this time came; he feared it and longed for it. A time of suffering, sorrow, death - the cross. Now he could sense it was drawing near and he resolutely goes forward to meet it: Now the time has come.

Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem ...

lf the time of his suffering and death was closer, Jerusalem, the place, was also closer. This was the place where he was to fulfil his destiny. Luke's gospel is dominated and held together by this long journey Jesus is making to the place of his suffering and death - Jerusalem.

Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem ...

He always 'took the road' that led to Jerusalem. Roads are important, aren't they? They can lead us to our destination or they can take us away from it. We've all had the experience of discovering that we've been on the wrong road, that we were not heading in the right direction. Jesus never took a wrong road. His road map was the will of his Father and he followed it faultlessly.

Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem.

He had to be resolute because along the way there were so many trying to sidetrack him, stop him, tempt him to diverge. Herod wanted to kill him before he could begin his joumey; Satan wanted to tempt him to walk other roads; Peter wanted him to go only halfway.

We could spend some time applying this thought to our modern world and to our own personal life. Today, if the Pope and the teaching of the Catholic Church can be believed, the world is walking the wrong road, a road leading to catastrophe and death for the world. One has only to read the last few Encyclicals from Rome to see this. Jesus is the road we walk and the destination we must reach. Only the Church can still guide us safely along this road. No one else is to be trusted because only the Church speaks with the voice of Jesus.

Well, along the road, along his road, Jesus meets three would-be followers.

The first is told to have no illusions. The call to serve never ends. There never will be a time when one has the right to say 'I've done my bit, I'm going home now. Let the younger ones do it.' Jesus has no home, or rather, his home is the road.

The second wants to follow but do something else first. If the kingdom is not first then one has not chosen the kingdom. Jesus gives a striking example. What could be more sacred than burying the dead? The disciples' task is bringing new life. Jesus does not bury the dead, he raises to life.

The third would-be follower wants first to say goodbye to his family and friends. But disciples do not say goodbye to people. On the contrary, they have to be very close to them. A disciple does not chose between a relationship with God or a relationship with others. God is the one who gives our relationships with others depth and meaning so that we turn every stranger into a friend like the good Samaritan.

These may seem heavy demands but that is not so. Jesus does not demand that we follow, he invites. He invites and offers us the path of life. At the same time he makes it clear what we will encounter as we walk the path of life. He will be with us. We will learn how to love and serve. We will discover our true selves. We will set others free. We will discover eternal life in the kingdom which is our destination.

No comments: