Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
I Kgs 19.16, 19-21; Ps 15; Gal 5.1, 13-18; Lk 9.51-62
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. As Elijah was rounding up his prophetic mission, God told him to choose Elisha as his disciple. Elisha immediately left his physical plough to embrace the spiritual plough that God has called him to do. In today’s gospel, Christ was on his way to Jerusalem to fulfil the will of his Father. He decided to pass the through a Samaritan village. But with the look of things, the disciples James and John become impatient with the apparent lack of success of Our Lord’s mission in a Samaritan village and are itching to deal with the situation by calling down fire from heaven. The Lord rebukes them for their brash impetuosity.
One irony of it is that later, at Pentecost, it is precisely fire from heaven that changes the history of the Church and the world for ever. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes down in tongues of fire, with the power of a mighty rushing wind, a tornado we might say. That fire from heaven launched the Church on its mission of evangelising the whole world, consecrating the world, for God’s greater glory and our salvation.
That process has been going on for twenty centuries now, and is continuing, and will go on, until the world ends and the Lord returns in glory, to judge the world, again by fire. How little did James and John realize any of this when they wanted to take a quick revenge, and burn up the Samaritans in the fire of wrath and impatience.
In his letter to the Galatians that we hear today, St. Paul clearly states: For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbour as yourself (also see Mark 12.31). There is no “but” after that statement. The command does not say love your neighbor as long you like her or agree with his politics. Each of us wants—and has a right—to be treated fairly, respected, and free from physical and emotional harm. And what I want and expect from others, I need to show others through kindness and respect.
Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto him; let your heart be full of him; let your lips speak of his worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. So let us not exchange our spiritual calling to something temporary and physical. We are commanded to bear much fruit. When we keep on looking back, we won’t be able to plow our field properly and because of that, we will not have plenty of harvests.
Therefore, let us do our best in “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead!” (Philippians 3:13). Keep ploughing through! God bless.