Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21
Gal 5:1, 13-18
Lk 9:51-62

If you saw the movie “The Graduate” you may remember a scene from the graduation party that occurs close to the beginning of the movie. A man comes up our protagonist, young Benjamin, and says “I have just one word for you, plastics.” I suppose it was an admonition to Benjamin to go into the manufacture or sale, or something, of plastics. Well today I have just one word for you, priorities. Priorities are what the Gospel today is all about. Jesus actually sounds harsh, almost uncaring, when he tells one man who wishes to defer following Jesus in order to bury his father to “let the dead bury the dead”. Another wishes to first go and say goodbye to his family. Jesus tells him that he must follow now and not look back. Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it? Jesus seems to saying, walk away from everything, abandon all and follow me. Well, in a way He is. Jesus is not, however, advocating that these people, that we, must abandon our duties to family in order to follow Him. What Jesus is asking is what are your priorities? What is important to you, how important is it? What will you allow to stand in the way of following Jesus? What Jesus wants us to see is that nothing should stand in the way of our relationship with God, nothing is so important that it should keep us from following Him. In the culture that Jesus lived in, nothing was more important than family. Duty to one’s family came before everything. Burying the dead was a sacred obligation. Even a priest who would be made ritually unclean by touching a corpse was obligated to bury a body found by the side of the road, much less a family member. As important as these things were in Jesus time, as important as they still are in our time, our relationship with God is more important still. Living the Gospel should be the center of our whole life. Following Jesus, proclaiming the Good news, should inform everything we do. Our other relationships are, in essence, dependent on this primary relationship, our relationship with God. Without that relationship, nothing else matters. So today I have just one word for you, priorities.

Deacon John
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 1, 2007