1st Reading: 1Kings 19:16; 19-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 15
2nd Reading: Gal 5:1;13-18
Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

The readings for today’s liturgy are very challenging as well as also being inspiring and encouraging.  Their message could be summed up in the opening prayer of the Mass which reads:

“O God who through the grace of adoption, chose us to be children of light, grant that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.”

In the Gospel we see Jesus ‘resolutely taking the road to Jerusalem’ knowing that it would lead to His Passion and death – which would be the gateway to his Resurrection and glorification.  He sets the example and makes the same demands on us who claim to be his followers: ‘once the hand is laid to the plough’ He does not tolerate any turning back.  His words seem harsh and maybe inhumane according to worldly standards and we may even feel discouraged but the Responsorial Psalm assures us that the prize is high: It reads:

O Lord it is you who are my portion and cup / It is you yourself who are my prize

And continues:

You will show me the path of life / The fullness of joy in your presence.

If we are to avoid the ‘darkness of error’ and ‘live in the bright light of truth’ as the prayer exhorts us, we must always keep our eyes fixed on the goal, the prize – that is union with God – as we remember who we are through our Baptism i.e. beloved children of God, children of light whose home is no other than the divine family of the Holy Trinity. 

In the letter to the Galatians Paul urges us to be guided by the Spirit so that we will no longer yield to self-indulgence.  The Spirit is always inviting us, always drawing us out of our comfort zone into a new freedom – freedom from slavery to our own ego, our whims and self-seeking, freedom from the demands and expectations of an ungodly and faithless world around us.  When we respond with alacrity to the Spirit’s promptings in the little things of life, as Mary did, with ‘let it be done unto me’ we experience a new freedom and joy and are prepared to accept with courage the bigger crosses which come our way from time to time.

The Gospel message today is radical but let us remember that we are never alone – Christ is in us, with us, above us and below us as we sang in our Recessional hymn this morning.  We pray that we may always allow Him to be our Light, to shine in our hearts and shine through the darkness of our lives that we may always radiate the light of His truth in the darkness which often surrounds us.