Reflection: Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – 1K.19:16,19-21; Ps.15; 2nd Reading – Gal.5:1,13-18; Gospel – Lk.9:51-62]

“I WILL FOLLOW YOU…”

More than in any other Sunday, today’s readings are intended to help us ask ourselves not only about our own relationship with God, but also to ask ourselves if and how we are following the Lord. The gospel starts with a small story about two of the Apostles, James and John, who on seeing that the people of the Samaritan village were not ready to receive Jesus because He was heading for Jerusalem (where there is the Temple and therefore the presence of God) asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire from heaven to burn the villagers up! Jesus’ reaction was to rebuke the apostles and Jesus also took this opportunity again to talk about what it means to follow Jesus. Through the gospel writer we see that Jesus presents three cases of people who either wanted to, or else were asked to follow Jesus but for one reason or another they were finding it difficult to do so. Indeed, to follow Jesus is not an easy task.

The first example is of one who was “a man on the road”. He was an unknown person who was one of the many who had no real relationship with Jesus. We are not told the reason why this person wanted to follow Jesus. We are only told that he presented himself to follow Jesus “wherever he goes”. Jesus’ answer to this man’s wish to follow him was very simple and straightforward – it is as if Jesus was saying: “If you want to follow me, first, you have to get to know me!!! Therefore you have to create a relationship with me, get to know me better and you’ll discover that I live through the providence of the Father”

The second example was someone who was personally asked by Jesus to follow him but he was not ready to do so immediately but he wanted to “bury his father first”. This meant that he had other things that were still very important to him and that God is not his highest priority. Admittedly, his father (in life) is very important but if this “human” father is not following Jesus, then he is already dead and therefore Jesus suggests to “leave the dead to bury their dead.”

The person in the third example is similar to the person in the first example who presents himself to follow Jesus. Similar to the second person, he too has other priorities in life – he wanted to say good-bye to his people at home – and therefore although God is important, he still does not give God the highest priority. Jesus answer to this man’s statement is that if one is already committed and therefore working for God, he should continue to do so without looking back, because God will give what this person needs to be able to give fruit to his work.

To follow Jesus means to put the relationship with God as the main goal in life. It means putting oneself in the providence and mercy of God. It means to renounce oneself and have God in the heart and the mind and to make Him the number one priority. Following Jesus means not only following Jesus “physically”, but also doing the same things that Jesus did.

“Lord God, we want to follow you. We want to answer your call, but we are very weak. Give us the strength that we need to be able to look for the Father, to follow you in your footsteps and to let the Holy Spirit be our guide. Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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