Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
26TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 2 / (White)
St. Jerome, priest & doctor
1st Reading: Ne 2:1-8
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of king Artaxerxes, I was doing my duty as cupbearer. I took up the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad before the king in the past. So, the king said to me, “Why do you look sad? You don’t look sick. Is there something that bothers you?”
I became hesitant. And I said, “May the king live forever! How could I afford not to be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates are burned down?” The king said to me, “What do you want, then?” I asked help of God from heaven and said to the king, “If it seems good to the king and if he is pleased with my work, then may he send me to the land of Judah, to the city where my ancestors are buried, that I may rebuild it.”
The queen was sitting beside the king, and the king asked me, “How long will you be gone? When will you be back?” I told him the date and he allowed me to leave. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, may you give me letters for the governors of the province at the other side of the River that I may travel to Judah, and also a letter to Asaph, the caretaker of the king’s forest, for I will need wood for the gates of the Citadel near the Temple, for the walls of the city and for the house where I shall live.”
The good hand of God was supporting me, so that the king gave me what I asked.
Gospel: Lk 9:57-62
As they went on their way, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 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 Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said to him, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
Today’s gospel reading introduces a new stage in the life of Jesus. The time has come for him to leave Galilee and to “go up to Jerusalem.” For Jesus, this is the crossing of a threshold, a crucial decision. Committing his whole life: to remain in Galilee is to prolong the easy life of the first successes. It is to give in to the temptation of becoming a temporal Messiah, an idol of the crowd, of “making one’s own life.” To go up resolutely to Jerusalem is to accept concretely the will of the Father, which is that Jesus should surrender in life. It is to break away from the past and to move on into an uncertain future in accordance with the Father’s project. We should not be surprised that, in such a context, Jesus is brought to formulate clearly, even brutally, the evangelical breakups that mark his following in the service of the Kingdom. There are moments, in any Christian’s life as well as in the history of the Church, when it is necessary to break away from past securities, to tear oneself from Galilean tranquility, out of faithfulness to the Lord and to the Lord’s mission.
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