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Liturgical day: Sunday 13th (C) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 19,16b.19-21): Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, "Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you." Elijah answered, "Go back! Have I done anything to you?" Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.
Responsorial Psalm: 15
R/. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, "My Lord are you. O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot."

I bless the LORD who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
2nd Reading (Gal 5,1.13-18): Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Versicle before the Gospel (1 Sm 3:9; Jn 6:68c): Alleluia. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening; you have the words of everlasting life. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 9,51-62): As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, He made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. He had sent ahead of him some messengers who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for him. But the people would not receive him because he was on his way to Jerusalem. Seeing this, James and John, his disciples said, «Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?». Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.

As they went on their way, a man said to him, «I will follow you wherever you go». Jesus said to him, «Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head». To another Jesus said, «Follow me». But he answered, «Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father». And Jesus said to him, «Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them and proclaim the kingdom of God». Another said to him, «I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family». And Jesus said to him, «Whoever has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God».

«Follow me»

Fr. José MARTÍNEZ Colín
(Culiacán, Mexico)

Today, the Gospel invites us to ponder over our following Christ. It does matter to follow him as He expects us to. James and John had not yet learned his message of love and forgiveness: «Lord, do you want us to call down fire from Heaven to reduce them to ashes?» (Lk 9:54). There were others also called by the Lord but they were not yet ready to completely part with their family bonds. To follow Christ and accomplish our mission, we must do it free from any tie: «Whoever (...) looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God» (Lk 9:62).

At a World Missionary Journey, St. John Paul II made an appeal to all Catholics to become missionaries of the Gospel of Christ through dialogue and forgiveness. The motto was: «The mission is an announcement of forgiveness». His Holiness said that only our love for God can unite men of every race and culture, by making disappear the painful divisions, the ideological contrasts, the economic inequalities and the violent abuse humans are still subject to. Through evangelization, we believers may help men to recognize one another as brothers.

If we truly feel like brothers, we may start by understanding each other and debating always with respect. His Holiness has emphasized that our determination for an attentive and respectful dialogue is a necessary condition for the true testimony of God's saving love, because who forgives is already opening his heart to his fellowmen and is able to feel love. In the Last Supper the Lord said it too: «A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you (...). By this all men will know that you are my disciples» (Jn 13:34-35).

To evangelize is a task for all of us, although in different ways. For some of us, it will mean going to countries where Christ is still unknown. Others will be supposed to evangelize in their own environment. Let us ask ourselves whether those around us know how to live the fundamental truths of our faith; and whether we are already doing something to remedy this situation. We all can and must support the missionary tasks with our prayer, sacrifice and behaviour, in addition to the testimony of our forgiveness and understanding towards the rest of our fellowmen.