Saturday, June 25, 2016

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C - 2016

While Jesus was with us he was a very charismatic and caring person and many were moved by his words and inspired by his actions.

So it’s natural that people wanted to follow him,  
They wanted to live like he lived and practice what he preached.
They wanted to be his disciple.

In today’s Gospel we have four different passages which speak about following Christ and explain the cost of being his disciple.

The stories or encounters described in the Gospel probably did not happen all at once The writer of the Gospel of Luke grouped them together to teach us about what is necessary for discipleship.

In the first little story the disciples ask Jesus if they should call down fire fire on a samaritan town that refused to welcome him.

Jesus quickly rebuked them. When did Jesus ever call down fire on anyone ?
You see the only way a person can become an authentic disciple of Christ is when their heart is change.

You can’t bully or punish someone to faith.
This is a grave mistake which the church in its zeal for souls has made over and over again throughout history.

The only we can bring a person to faith is by loving them and giving them good example.

The second person who wants to follow Jesus, doesn’t really know what the cost of discipleship will be.

Jesus reminds him "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the I have nowhere to rest my head."

You see some people think that following our Lord is going to make them rich or give them power and influence.

Trust me usually the opposite is true.  

Despite what the televangelists may tell you Jesus never promises prosperity to his disciples the only promise he makes is the cross.

The cross which he willing carried for the salvation of the world.

When Jesus invites another person to follow him the man responds ”let me bury my father first.”

At first Jesus response to the man seems harsh, until you understand what the young man was really saying.

You see  the greek scholars tell us that the man was really saying “let me follow you once my father is dead.” But from the text we don’t even know if his father was old or infirm.

The reality of the young man’s response is this. Yes, he wants to follow Jesus but only when it is convenient for him, not necessarily when Jesus calls.

Jesus tells the young man and us that when God calls we need to respond period.

Discipleship depends on God’s time not on our time.

When a child is really sick or in desperate need no one can imagine a Mom or Dad responding I’ll get to you when it’s convenient to me.

Like love compels them to act right away so should love compel us to answer God’s call when he calls.

Finally, one last person who wanted to be a disciple said “let me go and say goodbye to my family.” It seems like a reasonable request. And indeed the prophet Elijah in the first reading allowed Elisha to go say good by to his family

But when you think about it
No one can really move forward while looking backward.

Once our heart is fixed on discipleship, then that is where we must place all of our efforts.

It is impossible to have our feet in two worlds and serve them both well.

And so dear friends all of us are here or all of us should be here because we want to be faithful followers of Christ faithful disciples.

Let us never expect to profit from our discipleship.
May our love and the gift of our lives be completely free not expecting anything in return.

Let us never try to bully or shame someone into faith.

May people be brought to faith because of our good example and the generous way we share our lives with others.

Let us answer God’s call when he calls, when he needs us,  or when his people need us.
Not when we don’t have any better offers or when it is convenient to us.

Finally, once we say yes to God may it be a firm “yes” a positive “yes”.
May we be single hearted in our service to God’s Kingdom.

We can’t serve our own interest and Gods’
There is no looking back once we say Yes to our Lord.

We are sitting here today in these pews because men and women of every generation  have selflessly said yes to God’s call.

In this time of confusion, when so many things are changing and uncertain.

In this time when there seems so much anger and angst about how things are going.

We don’t need more angry people.

The world and future generations need a selfless humble  church

with selfless humble people ready and willing to give their lives away to God and his people and build up God’s kingdom

May we too follow him with generous hearts. Amen

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