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Old Calendar: Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
"As they were going along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:57-58).'" Today, Jesus calls us to follow him as he makes his way toward Jerusalem, where the mystery of death and rebirth is to be accomplished to follow these requires wholehearted commitment, the commitment of love. Nothing less is fit for the reign of God.
The feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome
, which is ordinarily celebrated today, is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The first reading is taken from 1 Kings 19:16; 19-21. We have here an account of the call of Elisha to the prophetic office.
The second reading
is from Galatians 5:1; 13-18. In this reading, St. Paul tells the Galatians that they were called for freedom. He then makes an important distinction that needs to be reiterated often in our world, and that is the distinction between freedom and license. St. Paul says "do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love." Many people seem to have the idea that freedom is all about doing what I want, when I want, how I want, etc. This is not freedom, but license. License is selfish, the opposite of the love to which St. Paul exhorts us.
is from St. Luke 9:51-62. Among the various incidents gathered together by Luke in these verses of his gospel we have read today, perhaps the lesson that should strike all of us most is his insistence on total dedication on the part of his true followers to his service. We cannot be for Christ and against him at the same time. "He who gathers not with me. scatters," he himself said. We are followers of Christ since our baptism. In theory this is the fact, but in practice how real is this fact for many of us? Are we really following Christ during the twenty-four hours of every day of our lives? Are our eyes always fixed on the true future which awaits us? Are we prepared to plow a straight furrow no matter what snags or obstacles may be on our way? How few of us can answer "yes, we are," to these straight questions?
We have, of course, explanations ready at hand for our forgetfulness, our laxity, our earthly entanglements. We are tied down by family and a hundred other earthly cares. Our days, our weeks, our year are so fully occupied that we fmd it hard to spare even a short hour on Sundays to give to God. This answer shows a misunderstanding of what Christ demands of us. He knows his followers must live for a few years in this world and must, for the most part, struggle to earn a living for themselves during that period. But it is by living this earthly life properly, by being loyal to spouse and family, by earning one's living honestly, by living not only peacefully but helpfully with one's neighbors, that we are living our Christian life.
The man who keeps within the limits that Christian law lays down for him, while working his way through this life. is a true follower of Christ and is on the road to heaven, plowing a straight furrow. He may not have much time for prayer, and each morning he may rush off to work. But God understands half-sentences and even single words. At night he needs recreation and relaxation. and God does not expect long prayers from him—if he has worked honestly and has given the example of true Christianity to his fellow-workers, he has honored God all day. He has prayed well. A few words of thanks to God, a request for pardon for all the mistakes made since morning, before lying down to sleep at night, will give such a man nothing to fear should God call him to judgement during the night hours.
If we only realized how reasonable God's demands are, and how every demand he makes on us is for our own benefit and not his, we would be a little more generous in our. response to his calls. He does not need us—we need him. We could slip in a few more short prayers during the day: we could find more time to take a true interest in the eternal and less in the temporal. We could manage to give a helping hand and a word of encouragement to a needy neighbor. Yes, all of us could do a lot more to show to Christ and to the world that we are following him gladly and honestly. We are not looking back while plowing our Christian furrow.
Excepted from The Sunday Readings
, Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
Commentary for the Readings in the Extraordinary Form:
Third Sunday after Pentecost
"Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost'. . .There will be joy in heaven oer one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance" (Gospel).
"The Sacred Heart for the world, the world for the Sacred Heart," was the theme of last Friday's Feast. Today we witness the mutual search
between the Divine Heart and our heart.
In the Introit the sinner voices his sense of being "alone" in his inner struggles, so often beyond all human aid. This life is a warfare against "your adversary the devil;" nevertheless be "steadfast in the faith;" hear the call to resist." Ultimate victory is "in Christ Jesus" (Epistle).
Who of us could ever doubt the Love of the Sacred Heart after reading this Gospel? Who of us on earth would not add to His joy in heaven by leading some soul back to His Sacred Heart?
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal
, Confraternity of the Precious Blood