“NO ONE WHO PUTS HIS HANDS TO THE PLOUGH AND LOOKS BACK IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Luke 9:62)

⏰Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

📕1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-25; Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 (R.v.5a); Gal 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62

🎤”NO ONE WHO PUTS HIS HANDS TO THE PLOUGH AND LOOKS BACK IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Luke 9:62)

Do you remember where we left off in our reflection of last Sunday? Just before he journeyed into Jerusalem, Jesus led his disciples to the real understanding of his identity as a suffering Messiah. Hence, anyone who wants to follow him must also carry his Cross and follow. As soon as he finished his duty of leading them to that important understanding, it was then time for their response to his invitation. That is the point of attention in today’s liturgy. How well do we respond to Jesus’ invitation to us to carry our crosses and follow him?

It would seem that the evangelist Luke went ahead to try to justify the imperfect answers given about him being Elijah or one of the old prophets. The details in both the First Reading and the Gospel raises that suspicion.

Both Elijah and Jesus were about to be taken up and they called their successors to follow them. Those called showed some reluctance as many of us do today. But that is where we see the difference in Elijah and Jesus, showing that Jesus is not just like Elijah; he is greater than Elijah. While it seemed that Elijah gave in and allowed Elisha to go for the farewell party he asked for (cf. 1 Kgs 19:20-21), in Jesus’ case, there is no turning back (cf. Luke 9:62).

Now, that must not be seen to mean that Jesus is wicked or heartless or has no regard for others. No! He understands perfectly what it means to be on the road that leads to life. Remember that he is the way (cf. John 14:6) and anyone who follows him cannot be in darkness (cf. John 8:12).

Moreover, anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (cf. 2 Cor 5:17) and has eternal life, but whoever is outside of Christ is dead (cf. John 3:36). Can you then see what Jesus meant when he said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead” (Luke 9:60). It is to be assumed that the dead which Jesus refers to are those who are not with him, who is the life (cf. John 11:

Now is the decision time! Where do you choose to belong? Do you wish to remain among the dead who are outside of Christ or the living who are with him? Note that being in him is not necessarily and invitation to comfort. That is why Jesus said that the son of man has no where to lay his head (cf. Luke 9:59). Yet, to live, we must follow.

However, St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading that following Christ or refusing to follow him is a matter of choice. In Christ, we have eternal freedom, but a kind of freedom that comes with responsibility. This freedom compels us to live like Christ, who was led by the Spirit to stand for God in all things.

I choose to declare with the Psalmist today, “O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup” (Ps 16:5). I don’t know about you. But you just have to declare your stand – You are either for God or you are not. If you are ready to be for God alone, why not renew this faith declaration in him:

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back;
No turning back!

Have a grace-filled and faithful Sunday. It is well with you.

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