Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Father Dan Juelfs
Homily from the Televised Mass
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time,
June 26, 2022
As we begin our Gospel today, we find that the context of Jesus journeying to Jerusalem to fulfill his mission. To fulfill what it was that he had come into this world to do — to proclaim the reality of the presence of the kingdom of God. And as we listen to the Gospel passage, we find different kinds of responses, people who are traveling with Jesus, the disciples, or the other people, the other three people that come up in one form or another, and we find different responses, different ways of expressing who they were.
The first is the disciples when the Samaritan people wouldn’t allow them to travel through their village. The disciples just want to call down fire and brimstone. Destroy the village. You could almost sense Jesus’s thoughts on that — “haven’t they paid any attention to anything that I’ve said in the last few years? That you want to simply destroy things that don’t agree with you?”
He simply says, “go on.” He simply calls them to rebuke them and continues his journey. Finds someplace else to stay. But obviously the disciples hadn’t got the message or at least as well as Jesus would have expected them to.
And then as we go through, we find three other encounters. Three other people. Three other situations. The first comes to Jesus with obviously a great sense of confidence, or maybe overconfidence. “I will follow you wherever you may go.”
And Jesus reminds him of the difficulties. The birds of the air, they have nests. Other animals, they have places to stay, but the son of man doesn’t. He lets him know it’s not going to be easy to be faithful. It’s not going to be easy to follow him. That don’t set you expectations to high or at least on the wrong thing. But he does remind him how difficult it’s going to be.
The second person Jesus simply invites and says follow me. And he responds by saying, “I will follow you wherever you go but first I want to go home. I want to, to bury my father.”
And Jesus response may seem a little harsh but what he’s trying to get across is the fact that the kingdom of God is the most important thing to be concerned about. Yes, those other things fall into place, but your call is to proclaim the kingdom of God. That’s what we’re about and if you follow me that’s what our task is.
The third one, very much the same in the sense that he says, “I will follow you but first let me say farewell to my family. I’m happy to follow you but I got some things I need to do first.”
As we listen to those responses, or at least the responses of these three, a couple of things come off. A couple of points I think are important. First of all, that we can’t look for excuses in following Jesus. We either follow him or we don’t. That we can’t come up with reasons to say, “yes but, or just give me time. I will but I have other things going on first.”
Jesus simply says, “no, the kingdom of God is what is that you’re proclaiming.”
I think the second point is Jesus never turns any of these people away. He doesn’t say, “no you can’t.”
He doesn’t say, “no I don’t want you.”
He simply lets them know what’s important. What they have to be doing first. Where they kind of had to kind of decide, if they have to make a decision between following or doing something else. It’s up to them. Jesus doesn’t push them, but he reminds them that’s how it has to work. If we’re going to proclaim the kingdom of heaven, that’s what it is we’re about.
I think as we celebrate today and as we listen to this particular gospel passage, I think we need to ask that question, what does it tell us? How do we fit into that? I think it calls us to kind of look at the excuses we can sometimes make. The things that we can kind of put off. Yes, I want to, I’m going do this, but I’ve got some other things I want to do first. That we can sometimes find ourselves not ready to totally follow Christ or be totally faithful because we’ve got something else on our mind. We want to do the things that we want to do first and then we can follow.
I think probably most of us would have to say “yeah, we would fit into that category and one time or another in our lives.” At sone point or another in our lives we found ourselves saying “well it’s not that important, I can put it off for a little while.”
And yet what Jesus is telling us, is says is telling us in today’s Gospel is a reminder that this is what’s important, proclaiming the kingdom of God. But it’s also important to remember it’s never too late to say yes. It’s never too late to say yes and allow ourselves to follow.
Jesus’ is invitation is always open. He’s always waiting for our response. I think the question we ask ourselves is how are we proclaiming the kingdom of God and what do we let get in the way of that proclamation.