Following Jesus will cost me.I am called to live by the spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. Today, the church calls us to be totally committed to Christ. Without “Looking back,” we must freely “slaughter” all the forces, distractions, and obstacles that prevent us from serving the Lord well.
In the first reading, (1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21) the call of Elisha and his response was a dramatic event. Elisha demonstrated a total commitment to his call. The slaughtering of his oxen, the kissing of his father, and the bidding of farewell to his men, were all symbolic gestures that he had freely accepted his call. It was a sign of total submission to the will, and call of God over his own will. It was also an indication that he loved God more than his business, and his own self. The slaughtering of his oxen is very significant for us today. He “killed and abandoned everything” that could have become an obstacle to his decision to serve God in the future. Also, he overcame the temptation to keep them. This was the proof of his total committed to God. What have we sacrificed, and what is our proof of it?
In the second reading, (GAL 5:1, 13-18) Paul reminds us of the freedom we have in Christ. This freedom is for a purpose. It liberates us from the things that enslave us in order to be committed to Christ. It is not freedom to indulge in vain acts, or what Paul calls “self-indulgence.” It is not freedom to become inactive. Instead, it is freedom to follow and serve the Lord. This freedom binds us to Christ. It is a freedom that permits us to submit to Christ, and to surrender all to Him.
The gospel (LK 9:51-62)brings us to the apogee of this total commitment to the Lord. Christ knew and saw the weakness of the young men who wished to follow him. He knew their struggles, as well as their distractions. They had “genuine intentions as well as excuses” as most of us often do. They wanted to follow Christ, yet they were not ready to make the sacrifice.
So seeing their predicament, Christ addressed them: “Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
(Gen 19, 26) and Judas Iscariot into a traitor. It represents all unnecessary attachments. It does not permit us to make God’s call through his Son Jesus Christ, a permanent experience in our lives. One of the greatest obstacles we have today as Christians is that “our oxen” are still alive. Although we are professed Christians, our oxen are still hidden somewhere in the fabrics of our life. They represent old habits and mundane things that we are still strongly attached to. We must “slaughter” them as a sign of our total commitment to Jesus Christ or, our attention will remain divided because: “You cannot serve God and Marmon at the same time” (Lk 16, 13).The church, therefore, calls us to be totally committed to Christ. Like Elisha, we must “slaughter all the forces, obstacles, and vices such as: envy, jealousy, pride, peddling rumors, character assassination, selfishness, materialism, immorality, and old bad habits. These make it hard for us to be committed to Christ. Then, we can confidently say to Christ: “O Lord, you are my portion and cup” because, we have freely offered all for his sake. If we are committed to the Lord, He will definitely show us the part of life. As a working tool in the hands of God, remember that the work is the Lord’s, therefore, as you do the work of the Lord, never forget the Lord of the work. Have a blessed week ahead.
Based on Sunday readings of June 26th 2016