From the pastor’s desk
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time– Year C– Be a perpetual and committed Student of Jesus Christ.
Our contemporary society bears so many marks of secularism, materialism, atheism with all its loss of the
sense for what is sacred. The same was the case around (850 BC to 800 BC), the years of the Prophet Elijah.
As the lone prophetic voice, he challenged the authorities of his time. He carried out the social revolution to change the Israelite society and its environs in obedience to God. Among the things he was ordered to do
was to anoint kings. He was also asked to anoint Elisha as a prophet to succeed him as prophet of God.
In our first reading for today, he gives us a true understanding of what discipleship is about. As a spiritual
master, he threw his cloak over his disciple, Elisha. By this, Elijah transfers to Elisha his personality. That cloak symbolized his rights and his miraculous force (2 Kings 2:8); through it, he gains authority over him.
The response of Elisha was a complete break from the past and a total commitment to his new God-given
vocation; it was a radical choice that marks every true discipleship. In order to be totally free to serve God
as a prophet, he slaughtered his oxen and made a round-about turn from being a mechanized farmer. This
signified Elisha’s renunciation of his previous life for his new vocation as Elijah’s disciple. As Elijah
threw his mantle over Elisha, so has Jesus called us and at our baptism has thrown his cloak over us making
us his disciples, clothing us with himself. As our spiritual master, transfers to us his personality, his power
and authority, animating us with his Spirit and Grace to be his representatives in the world. The call to
Christian discipleship is radical and immediate. Our Gospel reading today, presents us with three different
categories of people. One volunteered to follow Jesus, wanting to follow Jesus where-ever he goes. Jesus’
answer to him is that quite unlike foxes who have lairs and the birds of the sky who have nests, the Son
of Man has nowhere to lay his head. The other person called by Jesus wants to first bury his father. But
Jesus’ answer to him is to let the dead bury their dead; rather, to come away and proclaim the kingdom of
God. The third person’s response to Jesus was affirmative, with a condition to go first and take leave of his
people. Jesus’ answer to him is that whoever puts his hand to the plow but keeps looking back is unfit for
the reign of God.
The three categories of people here and Jesus’ response to them have a lot to tell us about Christian
discipleship. One does not volunteer to become Christ’s disciple. One undertakes it when called by God.
One cannot follow Jesus with his own agenda. The letter to the Hebrews tell us: “ no one takes this honor
upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was (Hebrew 5:4).” The second lesson is that
discipleship requires urgency, with no procrastination. It requires complete and total commitment without
regrets and looking back. The goal of discipleship is to conform into the image and likeness of Christ; to
follow Jesus; to adopt the ways of Jesus. In our gospel reading today, Jesus teaches us to be gentle and
non-violent. Refused passage by the Samaritans because of his destination to Jerusalem, James and John
wanted to call down fire from heaven upon them, Jesus reprimanded the sons of Zebedee and changed his passage way. A disciple of Jesus must do the same work of Christ to set people free.
St. Paul tells us that it is for liberty that Christ has freed us. To be a disciple of Jesus is to enjoy freedom and to set others free.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, Ph