13th Sunday of Ordinary time Year C
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C – June 26th 2016
1 Kings 19:16,19-21
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
This week’s readings show us key turning points in the life of Jesus and also the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Key and life defining choices are made. Elijah is told its time to retire and pass on his mantle to another and Jesus turns towards Jerusalem and resolutely walks towards his death and our salvation.
This line from our second reading today underlines a central theme in this week’s readings, freedom;
“It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand fast therefore and do not submit again to a yolk of slavery” Galatians 5:1
What is freedom? Our 21st century idea of freedom is often very different to what the biblical idea of freedom would have been. Today it’s all about my autonomy, I make my choices, I live my life the way I want and choose to do, I follow my dream.
St Paul when he begins his letters (letters in those days were signed at the beginning) he signs Paul, “the called one”. Paul is proclaiming that another is leading, guiding and inspiring him.
Mary, the mother of Jesus introduces her self as “the handmaid of the Lord” or “slave” (doule in Greek).
The Book of Exodus is based upon a call for a whole people and generation to be free. Often through films and books this freedom is portrayed as being simply a political freedom (Ridley Scott’s film Exodus for example) but that is a very one-dimensional interpretation of the text. Reading it carefully we see that they were called out of slavery, freed in view of coming closer to God, to adoration. They were freed in view of a deeper spiritual freedom.
When John Paul II stepped off the plane the first time he arrived in the USA, President Ronald Reagan welcomed him saying; “Welcome Holy Father to the Land of the free and the brave”. Pope John Paul responded saying thank you and then questioned; “Yes free, but for what?”
We enjoy many legitimate freedoms in today’s world but what do we do with these freedoms? That is the question.
Being dependent or obedient to another is not always seen to be a positive thing in the world we live in. As a famous philosopher once said, dependency depends on who you are dependant upon. If you are dependant on something inferior to us; money, power etc. we become slaves, if we are dependant on something superior to us we become free.
To be free has become an absolute in today’s world while freedom is always a fruit and a consequence of love. The more we love the freer we become.
St Bernard called Mary the freest person that ever lived because of the intensity of her love. St Paul chained up in prison speaks and lives of an incredible freedom.
This week’s reading are meant to grab us by the lapels so to speak and compel us to name our priorities. What is the centre of my life? How can I use my life to give God glory?
Recently two friends were speaking and one was inviting her friend who was stressed and anxious due to work to get closer to God, to find peace. Her friend answered that se was too busy and stressed and found it difficult to find times to pray. Her friend responded with a one-liner that stuck us both as being very incisive; “You are trying to fit God into your life, instead you should be trying to make your life revolve around God”.
This week’s readings call us to recenter our lives upon the essentials, upon God. Let Him guide and lead you and you will taste freedom indeed (John 8:36), the freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
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