Saturday, June 29, 2013

Called for Freedom

Called for Freedom

Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary time 2013 C

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.”  1 Kings 19:16

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.  But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.  Galatians 5:13

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”  Luke 9:57-58


Piety has its strongest definition in how we follow the Lord. God has a plan for all of us.  Spirituality brings the discovery of what that plan is that God has for us.  Poverty, chastity and obedience are the makeup of a perfect surrender to the Lord as the meaning of life.  If you give away everything that you have, the poverty would seem to make the following of the Lord easier because there is nothing waiting for us to come back to.  We are freed from what would call us back.  Chastity means that you love the Lord your God more than any other human being.  For the Religious, it means you love the Lord directly.  For the married person, you love the Lord through the spouse.  In both cases, the love is to and for one person.  Obedience might well be the toughest because you are obedient to a plan of God.  That is difficult to be sure about without God appearing to you directly and telling you what he wants done.  Our piety draws us in to a closer following of the Lord in our life.  When we are guided by the spirit, we are not under the law.  The Spirit leads us to the mind and heart of Jesus.


We study how the Lord has invited the great Saints of History.  He did not invite them to wealth, comfort and pleasure as the world holds it dear.  Our Lord is inviting us into his life and to love his Father.  Jesus followed the example of his Father.  Even as the Father has loved Jesus, Jesus would love us.  He gives us a share of his cross.  In his invitation to follow he asks that we take up our crosses to follow him.  It rings loud and clear in our hearts that he is calling us to carry our own cross in his name.  Our difficulties of life when we face them honestly and nobly become his as we fill up by our suffering what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ’s mystical body, his church.


Christ’s road to Jerusalem invites all of us.  We too must go up to Jerusalem to die with Christ even as the Apostles eventually did.  The great temptations of our world are Individualism, Secularism and Materialism.  How we focus Christ in the hurting, infirm and the lonely of our lives is how we can best carry the cross of Christ.  How we set ourselves to do in the now of our lives what needs doing is how we do not put off the following of Christ for other things we might think need doing first.  The best actions of our lives are what we do immediately in the name of Christ.  Whatever we are going to do for Christ we need to do out of love.  Christ set us free for freedom.  Freedom is in our choices.  We too need to burn our bridges as Elijah did with his plows to free ourselves to act in freedom with nothing holding us back from following Christ to the hill of his Cross.  Christ set us free so we could be lovers.  Lovers are always free to give their gifts now.  We are always free in our now to follow Christ.  He is not the yesterdays or tomorrows of our life.  He is in the now of our lives.  Love is the now of what we are doing.  Christ sets us free from the slavery of "have to" for the love of "want to."

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