YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TOPIC: FOLLOWING JESUS
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Lk 9:51-62
Message # 394: “The Great Apostasy”
- The Marian Message
a) “The hour of the great apostasy has come.” This is the alarming message of the Blessed Mother. Yet we should not be surprised anymore. We have witnessed so many Christians leaving the Church during the past several years. They have been deceived by Satan and the errors that he is spreading (letter c).
b) “The great apostasy is spreading more and more, even through the interior of the Catholic Church” (letter e). This means that errors are being taught even within the Church, denying the authentic teachings of the Magisterium.
c) What is worse, even Bishops are eerily quiet in the midst of the spread of these errors and the attacks hurled against the Pope, particularly by the Masons who have infiltrated the Church (letter f). Because of this, many are victims of this great apostasy, deceived by the devil and led astray (letter g). Many bishops, priests, religious and lay people are victims (letter h).
d) But during these times of the great apostasy, there will be a little remnant in the Catholic Church, the “little flock” who will remain faithful to Christ, to the Gospel and to its entire truth (letter i). This “little flock” is composed of those people who are united to the Pope, regularly study in the cenacle, constantly pray and sacrifice and make an act of self-offering. They are those who have consecrated their lives to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
e) This message of the Blessed Mother is related to the theme of this Sunday’s readings about discipleship. She talks about many Christians leaving the Church. But she encourages us to remain as faithful followers of Jesus. Let us be part of the “little flock” that will follow Jesus with fidelity, perseverance and love.
- The Sunday Readings
a) The first reading is about the call of Elisha. He left everything – he slaughtered his oxen and burned his farm implements to boil the meat, and then gave it to the people to eat. Then he left and followed the prophet Elijah. His action was swift, firm and steadfast in response to the call to serve the Lord.
b) The response to the Psalm is a statement of a person who has discovered a wonderful and sublime truth: “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” This realization would definitely put everything in its proper order and place: everything in this world comes second only to the Lord. Hence, for someone who has come to know this truth, it would be easy to leave everything behind and follow the Lord.
c) In the second reading, St. Paul talks about freedom in his Letter to the Galatians. He says that, as Christians, our basic calling is for freedom inasmuch as Christ has set us free. He warns us not to abuse our freedom, but instead to use it to serve one another through love.
d) The Gospel reading is about following Jesus. He gives three important reminders: first, there is no guarantee of earthly comfort and luxury, for even “the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Second, he demands immediate and unconditional response to his call. He even said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Third, he wants his followers about the seriousness of the tasks and challenges ahead. So, he used the image of the man who has his hand on the plow must be focused on what he is doing.
- Points for Reflection
a) “He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” Jesus lived a life of complete and total obedience to the heavenly Father. He knew that he would be apprehended, tortured and killed in Jerusalem. But he also knew it is the will of the Father. So, nobody can take his eyes off Jerusalem. His face was set on that direction. How about us? How focused are we in going to heaven? Most of the times, our focus is in getting more money, or buying a new car or HD television, or in being successful in our career. But we rarely show similar determination to be close to Jesus or to attain eternal life in heaven.
b) The mission of Jesus was to spread the good news of God’s love. That is why, when his disciples suggested that he rain down fire from heaven on the hostile Samaritan towns, he rebuked them. He has come not to destroy, but to build; not to condemn but to forgive; not to punish but to love. God is a loving Father, not a vengeful tyrant. He is even willing to suffer and die for us sinners. That is why it is wrong to say that God enjoys punishing us. With the coming of Jesus, He has revealed to us that God is forgiving and full of mercy and love for us. When we do something bad, it is not God who punishes us, but the bad act that we did bears bad fruits that make us suffer. We punish ourselves by the very act of transgression that we did. This is the law of nature that we cannot avoid. Every wrongdoing carries with it a corresponding punishment.
c) Following Jesus involves three things: first, it demands that we transfer our sense of security from earthly things to the Lord. This is what he meant when he said: “Foxes has dens, birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Following Jesus means that we have to trust him instead of putting our trust in our money and in human powers and worldly resources. This is an invitation to shift our focus from the material to the spiritual, from the visible to the invisible, from man to God.
d) Second, following Jesus means persevering through difficulties. Jesus used the image in farming: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus never said that following him is a walk in the park. Rather, he said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.” It is never easy. It always entails hard work, sacrifices and trials. But he said, “He who perseveres till the end will reap the reward of everlasting life.”
e) Third, following Jesus needs a firm and resolute decision on our part without conditions and vacillations. When Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead”, he was not being disrespectful of the dead, but was only teaching the lesson on how to adequately respond to his call. We are not in a position to set conditions in following Jesus. He is the Lord, and he is the one who sets the conditions. Our task is just to follow him without questions, conditions and hesitations.
Song: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”
QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
1. Sa mga panahon na ito, ano ang mga hadlang sa pagsunod kay Kristo?
2. Bakit gusto nating sumunod kay Hesus? Ano ang ating mapapala sa pagsunod sa kanya: kayamanan? Kasikatan? Kapangyarihan?
3. Maraming mga Katoliko ang lumipat na sa ibang relihiyon. Ano ang kanilang mga dahilan sa pag-alis sa Katolikong Simbahan?