13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 28)

Readings: 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21 -- Psalm 16 -- Galatians 5:1, 13-18 -- Luke 9:51-62

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No Peter, James, and John, you can't call down fire and brimstone on the Samaritans because they refused us welcome. We'll go on down the road. And as they travel, they learn a lesson on discipleship and priorities. We can hardly imagine the justice of Jesus' demand in our own era. How can we not take the time to bury our own parents?

And his call to give up security for a life on the road with a band of travelling pilgrims?

The point is that God comes first, and all things flow from this, including justice and peace. Our struggle is not only against presidents, congresses, and zoning boards -- although it is with them; it is a spiritual struggle between good and evil, as they both manifest themselves throughout human history.

Paul reminds us that this life is freedom, which is not to be confused with licentiousness, but rather, with service in love. The entire law of God is summed up by Paul in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," a basic statement of solidarity -- which always sounds better in theory than it does in practice. Who can be against solidarity? But put a low-income housing project in my neighborhood? Or a residential center for troubled youths? Not In My Neighborhood, as they say these days.

The world today calls us to lose our freedom by becoming enslaved to the lusts of the flesh -- to materialism, consumerism. The Gospel, however, calls us to simplicity, to freedom, to love, to service.

How often do we not love our neighbor as ourselves, but rather, hate him as our enemy?

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