13th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 26 June 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: I Kings 19:16b, 19-21; Responsorial: Psalm 16; II: Galatians 5: 1, 13-18; Gospel: Luke 9: 51-62
It is the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. But our times are anything but ordinary. The decision by the United States Supreme Court this week that overturns the earlier decision of Roe v. Wade is a major blessed step in the struggle to protect the life of the unborn child. But it is only one step in the struggle to protect life, of the unborn but also the frail, disabled, and elderly. The battle against gun violence, poverty and greed that robs millions of lives continues on many fronts and in many lands.
But it is especially here in the United States this battle for life has intensified. The pro-choice/pro-abortion people are aghast at this decision and are sure to be passionately vocal and active in their protests.
Those who support this decision, those of us who see abortion as a killing of an unborn child and harmful of women, families and society are jubilant. It has been an arduous struggle. And the cause of jubilation is in many ways well-earned. By the mercy and grace of God. But as followers of Christ, the Lord of Life we need to respond in humility. We need to recognize that there are tragic contradictions and failures by pro-life forces that dismiss or minimize gun violence, poverty, health care and destruction of life in creation. This has damaged our witness for our Savior and Lord of Life.
These developments bring us to our Bible readings for Mass this Sunday. There is a beautiful and strong chorus of holy love that proclaims the message of following our Lord. The Word of God, infused with the Holy Spirit, calls us to know and respond to God leading us in the path of LIFE which He promises to show us. We could easily jump on this message to unreservedly follow our Lord and work for pro-life causes with renewed fervor. And that would be good. IF we realize this call by Christ is about so much more than specific social ills.
We are, as Christians, called to seek and follow Jesus in the paths of life for Him, for His Kingdom of Life. In our Gospel reading Jesus challenges His disciples (and each of us) to follow Him. He challenged them (and us) to lose the baggage we carry that hinders us from following God faithfully. Jesus hears the excuses we share and, in His holy redeeming love He calls us to let go and simply follow Him.
This applies in our personal discipleship. Daily in many profound ways the Spirit of God calls us to be free from our excuses and embrace the Truth that sets us free., to embrace and follow Jesus.
This week has brought us to a experience a new and more powerful YES! to Jesus. We are called to follow Him freely. But we must realize that as St. Paul shared with the Church in Galatia, in our Epistle, that this means we are to live, BY THE SPIRIT in a redeeming love of our neighbor and our fellow disciples. This would bring us to to realize this applies to all our neighbors, not just with those who happen to agree with us.
In the example of Christ in our Gospel we must understand this means loving even those who we may think we should be able to call down fire from heaven to consume. Instead of calling down fire from heaven we must call down the fire of God’s Holy Spirit to empower us to:
LISTEN in the wisdom and mercy of God. Great are the wounds, the fears, the angst many are filled with in our world as the enemy of our soul spews forth the lies that enflame hate and division. Our task is to be alert to these cries, these wounds and listen and respond in the compassion of God. Just as God listens to us.
To SPEAK the WORDS of LIFE Christ would have us proclaim. So many words are pouring forth both in horror and in jubilation of the events in our country this week. Now, more than ever, as we LISTEN we need to heed, prayerfully as to whether our words are filled with… humility, compassion, with LIFE. Many fear that their control of life is lost. That their ability to choose what they may believe is best is destroyed. Great is the false gospel of being in charge. Great is the twisting of the God-given freedom of our free will by the enemy of our soul. God indeed, and in truth created us, calls us to..choose Life. May our words, immersed in the Comforter, bring the Truth of the Life to which we each are called.
To LIVE in the HOLY SPIRIT ~ THE COMFORTER. To daily listen and speak the Word of life, who is Christ is impossible. I repeat it is impossible for any of us to live, to speak, as we are redeemed and called to live… without the power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Immense are the perils and challenges Christians face today. But greater, infinitely greater, is the God of Life we are called to follow. May these times in which we live bring us to discover, anew the path of life of which the Psalmist sang and which the Holy Spirit bids us seek. May we grow and share the abundant life of Jesus with each other, with all our neighbors.