Thoughts on the Readings for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 2019

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into you browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/063019.cfm 

Our Gospel this Sunday comes in two sections.  In the first section we find an example of the hostility that existed between the Jews and Samaritans.   (While there is debate over the exact origins of the Samaritans, a common explanation suggests they were descendants of two of the tribes of Israel who were not deported from Israel during the Assyrian conquest of the kingdom of Israel in 721 BCE.)    Both the Samaritans and the Jews believed they represented the true “Israel,” and as a result there was great animosity between them.   As Jesus and his disciples were passing through Samaria they tried to stop at a Samaritan village, but they were not welcomed.  James and John suggested calling “down fire from heaven to consume them.”  but Jesus rebuked them for their suggestion. 

In the second half of this Sunday’s Gospel three potential followers approach Jesus.  Two of them place conditions on their discipleship.   Jesus’ response to them reminds us that we cannot place conditions on following him.  Our discipleship needs to be single-minded and whole hearted.  

Our first reading this Sunday shares the theme of the demands of discipleship.  It records the call of the Elisha to be a prophet.  When called, Elisha expressed the desire to “kiss my father and mother goodbye.”  After being told by Elijah to: “Go back!” Elisha realized his response needed to be unconditional.   And so as a sign of his unconditional commitment to his call, he slaughtered his yoke of oxen and “used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh and gave it to his people to eat.”   The destruction of plowing equipment and the oxen was a clear indication that he did not intend to return to his former way of life.  

We continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians for our second reading this Sunday.  In the section we read this weekend, Paul reminds us:  “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever felt a tension between the call to discipleship and doing something else? 
  2. Is there something you need to put aside in order to follow Christ better?
  3. What is one concrete way that you are called to express your love for your neighbor?  
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