13th Sunday in the Season of the Year (C) – Setting our face toward the Lord.
In the first reading from I Kings, we meet Elijah at the end of his ministry, when his service begins to be more about Elijah than the Lord, so the Lord essentially tells him that his services are no longer required: go and anoint Elisha to succeed you as prophet. To his credit Elijah is faithful to the Lord, and finds Elisha ploughing – not by himself but behind 12 yoke of oxen (a sign of hid great wealth) and places his mantle over him. Immediately Elisha leaves behind the oxen and follows after Elijah – requesting only that he can kiss his parents goodbye. Although Elijah gives him leave to do so, it is not clear whether Elisha does – but what is clear is that he makes a decisive break with his current way of life when he kills the oxen and uses the yoke and the plough to prepare a meal for his men – and then follows Elijah.
This becomes for us a sign and example of freedom – what it means to live in liberty. To have the freedom that St Paul speaks about in Galatians 5:1 doesn’t mean being hard pressed to make the right decision – it means being so focussed on what is true, good and beautiful that we know when and where to do the right thing. The Gospel provides a powerful example of this in the ministry of Jesus – when he ‘sets his face resolutely towards Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:51) The remainder of Luke’s gospel will now be about this journey – and we are reminded of this decision and movement towards Jerusalem again in Luke 13, 17, 18 and 19 (when Jesus finally arrives in triumph in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday).
Recorded at Sacred Heart, Bomaderry, 9.30am (8’04”)