Saturday, June 30, 2007

Responding to the Call

July 1, 2007 Year C
13th Sunday In Ordinary Time/5th Sunday After Pentecost
Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins

I Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62

Theme: Responding to the Call

To follow Jesus is to become a new creation.

Elisha’s response to his master’s call included burning the tools of his trade. Burning his oxen and feeding his people marked the beginning of a new time in Elisha’s life. Indeed, Elisha became a new man when Elijah put his cloak upon him.

Each of us, baptized into Christ, has put on Christ. Christ has cloaked us for himself. His life has made us a new man, a new creation. To wait until it is convenient to follow Jesus is to become unfit for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus calls us from the dead as it was, to proclaim the Kingdom of God. So there is no misunderstanding, this world is not our kingdom. Jesus says, the birds of the air have nests, but the son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Jesus is not saying he is homeless, but rather, this world is not his homestead.

There is another kingdom where love is the rule of law. This is a new life where new people in Christ love their neighbor as themselves. Our relationship to one another in the Church is to build up one another. The devouring of one another, our brothers and sisters in Christ, is a worldly practice unworthy of the servants of Jesus. The parish is a community of life and love. We cannot fully commune with Jesus at his table when we barely know or care about one another. Our hearts touched and changed by the same Master makes us neighbors of one another. Such is the meaning of, and they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Perhaps there are three things to glean from today’s readings to help us to more fully respond to the call of Jesus to follow him.

First, the Lord is our inheritance. So complete is our life in him that only in him do we know the path to life. Outside of Christ, imperfect and defective, we become vulnerable to the wisdom of this age. But in Christ, the old is passed away, behold the new has come. It is in the Church, in which we grow in our understanding of this sacred truth. We are not settlers; we are not looking for a continuing city in this world. But we look for and give witness to new heavens and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells. Let us therefore love one another for the life of the world.

Second, it is in this temporal world in which we proclaim the Kingdom of God. Our witness is not a neo-political order. The power of Christ’s Kingdom is such that He is not willing that any should perish. In the order of things outside of Christ nothing is permanent; no one is completely loved. But in the Church, we are no longer strangers and aliens to the mercy of Christ. The community of the local parish is a house of refuge; let us receive one another as Jesus himself.

Third, we are to be guided by the Spirit. The law of the flesh is impotent before the law of the Spirit and life of Christ Jesus. Guided by the Spirit is to live no longer for our selves. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit we grow in grace, in love, and faith. Let us say yes to be a people of Pentecost; to be a people guided by the Spirit of Jesus.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus I need thee every hour; every hour I need thee. I am so unlike thee; but in baptism I see who I am, I see who you are; I live because of thee. You have called me to follow you; when I take my eyes off you, blessed Jesus, hold my hand. I hear you calling me to follow you; in following you is fullness of joy for evermore. Amen.

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