1 kings 19:16,19-21; Psalm 16 You are my inheritance, O Lord; Galatians 5:1,13-18; Luke 9:51-62
Several things for the readings for today.
One I would like to revisit a thought from earlier this week in regards to the book of Kings. The books kings, though entitled such, makes us think the focus is on the kings and the kingdom but in reality the focus is in on the prophets God calls to direct and guide the kingdom and the kings. In particular, Elijah and Elisha are the headliners for the book of Kings.
So why would they need the prophets anyway? Well the people, as well as, the kings themselves, had a tendency to sink to the level of their surroundings. Rather than being set apart and embracing their call to holiness as we are told in the OT, "be holy for I the Lord you God am holy," they both, the people of the kingdom and the kings, would allow themselves to to be swept away with the culture of the times or "the rites of the nations" and they needed purifying and redirecting constantly.
It is a reminder to us as well. How quickly can we be subdued by the cultural surroundings, the secular motives that invade our homes and work places in a variety of ways: TV sitcoms, Movies, articles, music and the like and just to name a few?
We need to be on our toes. The devil wants nothing more than to have us sink to the level of our surroundings and to just blend in rather than stand out and be set apart. As Christians we cannot live like everyone else. There is something different about us. Holiness means to be different, set apart, to stand out.
This is why in the gospel, Jesus gives us that radical call to discipleship, that is to follow him immediately and entirely, fully and completely. Everything we do should be regulated and elevated by our following of Jesus. Even in regards to our family; our family ties must be put in the right order and proper place. Jesus doesn't tell us to cut our ties with our family but rather let our relationship with him give them their proper direction and situate them in their proper order of importance.
"No one who puts their hand to plow and looks what is left behind is fit for the kingdom."
We often are asked by society to look at our physical fitness or our emotional fitness for life and jobs and relationships. What is our spiritual fitness and what does it look like? If we could measure our spiritual fitness, what measure would we use? Jesus gives us the tools in today's gospel for checking our spiritual fitness!
Where are we attached to other things in our life that hinder our connection to Jesus himself.
What keeps us from immediate and total commitment?
These attachments are our sinking into our surroundings and blending in rather than being set apart and standing out. Sometimes we have to remove things from our life in order o give ourselves fully to him.
Lastly, we see in today's gospel Jesus has set his face to Jerusalem. Thus, begins the travel narrative of Jesus. Which brings me to the prison and the ministry we do out there regularly.
The Inmates, the men in white as we call them, have to declare their religious affiliation before attending services, whichever services they attend. This affiliation is called their travel card.
When they change religious affiliation they have to put in a request to change their travel card. Our faith is in some sense a travel card. It is both about where we are headed but also in more impactful way how we travel there in this life.
Jesus's command for immediate and total commitment to Him is about our travel card and how we travel through life. How we travel is meant to impact the people around us. This is how we make disciples, by being a disciple in all we do as we travel this road of pilgrim. Since Pope France has been elected he has zoomed in on the reality of life being a pilgrimage, we all have a travel card and we all travel.
How do we travel? What level of commitment do we have in life to Jesus? How do others experience and are impacted by that commitment we carry with us as we travel? Check your spiritual fitness today? What needs to be removed from us so that we might be more attached to Jesus and his church he has founded? How do we travel along the path of pilgrimage and make disciples as we go?
Pax et Bonum