“Elisha rose and went after Elijah.”
A reading from the first Book of Kings (1 Kings 19:16b.19-21)
In those days: The Lord said to Elijah, “Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.” So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was ploughing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah, and ministered to him.
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 16:1 -2a and 5.7-8.9-10.11 (R. cf 5a)
R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot. R/.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved. R/.
R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.
And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to hell,
nor let your holy one see corruption. R/.
You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever. R/.
“You were called to freedom.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (Galatians 5: 1.13- 18)
Brethren: For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.
The word of the Lord
ALLELUIA 1 Samuel 3:9c; John 6:68c
Alleluia. Speak, Lord, for your servant hears; you have the words of eternal life. Alleluia
“Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. I will follow you wherever you go.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 9:51-62)
When the days drew near for Jesus to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them: And they went on to another village. 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.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one Who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The Gospel of the Lord
When Jesus invites persons to follow him, he calls them to leave all other relationships and attachments behind and to cling to him. This detachment from possessions and family enables the disciple to be free to serve God whole-heartedly.
Many of us have a desire to serve God and to offer our lives to him. But, at times, our attachment to sinful habits or attitudes, to possessions and relationships, hinders us from following him closely. We need to burn the yoke of slavery to sin and worldly things, and in its place take up the yoke of Christ to find true freedom and joy.
St Paul reminds us that if we are to enjoy the freedom that Christ has won for us, we need to allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit and to make an effort to serve others with love.
May we find joy in serving the Lord and loving him above all things.