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Scripture Reflections - June 26
13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
Luke 9:51-62

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

This thirteenth Sunday of the year is all about the excitement and challenge of beginning a new and very important journey. Many young people facing the new and frightening freedom of leaving home to face the unknown future. Most of them are excited at the possibilities life holds for them, while others are really frightened and unsure. It will take much courage and effort.

In today’s first reading, the theme of journey into the future begins with the first Book of Kings. Here we read that the prophet Elijah is tired out, so God allows him to retire. First, though, he must pass on his prophetic powers to young Elisha, son of a rich landowner. Dramatically, he throws his cloak around Elisha’s shoulders, and tells him to leave everything and follow him. Reluctantly, he allows Elisha to bid goodbye to his family first. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God”, Eliijah tells him. This young man had to sacrifice much wealth to take on the role of prophet.

In the Gospel, Jesus invites his followers to accompany Him on his last and most important journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. It is a journey filled with the excitement of healings, miracles, and the rich wisdom of Jesus’ preaching to the people, but at the end, He faced death on a cross. Jesus tries His best to warn his disciples of the cost of this discipleship for them as well as Himself. It will take much courage and determination.

And how about our journey with Jesus? We know from experience how much effort and sacrifice it takes to be a follower of Jesus. But, as St. Paul tells the Galatians in today’s second reading, “For freedom, Christ set us free, so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” He then warns his listeners not to give in to the “flesh” but to follow the grace of the Holy Spirit in giving oneself over completely to the gifts of the Spirit.

It’s all about daily focus. In order to plow a straight furrow, we must keep our eyes constantly on the goal of it all, the joy of heaven.

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