Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

In our gospel today, people in Samaria did not want to receive Jesus and His disciples. James and John thought this would be a great opportunity for Jesus to show His power and rain down fire on the Samaritans. They didn’t like those people anyway. The Jews considered the Samaritans half-breeds, part Jewish and part pagan. If Jesus wanted, James and John would be more than willing to perform the act of vengeance for Him. These Sons of Thunder, the ludicrous name that Jesus gave them, had no idea of what Jesus’ real power was. He had greater concerns than some Samaritan villages. He wanted to save the world from the grip of evil. That is why Jesus ignored the disciples and went on to Jerusalem. Jesus was completely committed to making the power of God’s love real among mankind[1].

Why did they do it, these followers of the Lord?  Why did they follow Jesus to their own deaths. All his closest disciples would be killed, with the exception, according to tradition, of John. After they received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost the disciples, now apostles, accepted their own deaths as a way of giving witness to the new reality of the Kingdom of God. Why? Well, they had experienced Love Incarnate, and wanted to bring this Love to others. They answered the demands of the Kingdom. They gave up the comforts of life, foxes have dens and birds of the skies have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head. They gave up their families and committed themselves completely to the Lord. Like Elisha they did not look back and return to their past lives.  Why did they do it? They did it because they possessed Jesus Christ, and His Love, and could only keep His Love by answering the demands of Love, by giving themselves up totally to the Love of God.

Why do we do it? Why do we worship as a community on Sundays when others are out fishing, or having picnics, or simply, staying in bed?  Why do we walk away from the negativity of the world?  Why do we avoid joining the drunks and druggies? Why do we battle against the temptation to use sex for our own selfishness? Why do we stand for morality in a nation that places value on the right of people to be immoral? Why do we fight against those factions of our government and those aspects of our media that mocks us for wanting morality to be the foundation of our nation? In fewer words: why do we profess faith in Jesus Christ and live that faith?

Well, we do it because we have been given the greatest gift people could ever receive. We have been given Jesus Christ. He is united to us, and we are united to Him. We leave the plow and oxen and material trappings of the world behind and live for the Lord because we are on fire with His Love. We march on with Him to Jerusalem because we never want to leave His Presence. We exalt in the power of God because His love gives meaning and purpose to our lives.  We live by the Spirit and do not let the flesh control us, because the flesh will die, but the Spirit is forever.

Why do we do it?  Why do we live our faith?  We do it because we are loved by the Tremendous Lover. Our prayer this morning is for courage. May we have the courage to sell out for God. May we have the courage to commit ourselves to the Kingdom of God here on Earth

[1] Sunday 30th June, 2013, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21. You are my inheritance, O Lord. Ps 15(16):1-2, 5, 7-11. Galatians 5:1, 13-18. Luke 9:51-62. [First Martyrs of the Church of Rome].

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris