Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 26)
1Kings 19.16b, 19 – 21. Psalm 16. Galatians 5.1, 13-18. Luke 9. 51 – 62
Most of us will spend our lives travelling – from one place to another, from one person to
another, from one status to another, from one business to another and so on. But there is
another journey in parallel to this, one which is never-ending and continues after our
death – the journey we travel in our inner world, in our interior life. In his book
Markings Dag Hammerskjold, the late Secretary of the United Nations wrote: “The
longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny.” Luke in his
Gospel refers to this longest journey of Jesus.
Jesus, like us, had many short outward journeys from his conception. While he was in
his mother’s womb he went to the village of Zechariah and to see Elizabeth. As he was
about to be born, Mary took him to Bethlehem. Soon after his birth he was taken to
Jerusalem for circumcision. When he was a baby, Joseph took him to Egypt and traveled
back to Nazareth. When he was twelve years old he went to Jerusalem with his parents to
celebrate Passover. He would have had many such trips to Jerusalem to fulfill his
religious rituals. But now, as we read in the Gospel he is going back to Jerusalem for
good because, for his inner voice has told him ‘that was his destiny’. “When the days for
his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”
On this journey were many hurdles and much opposition: in his native town; in many
places of Palestine; he was betrayed; he was disowned; he was abandoned; and he was
thrown out of the city. Yet his reaction was always to follow the principles of God’s
Kingdom. He never looked back, he never gave-up, he never drifted away. He always
tolerated others’ weakness. He loved them and forgave them. When the troubles of this
sinful world plagued them, the disciples James and John asked, “Lord, do you want us to
call down fire from heaven to consume them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. He
was always in close connection with his heavenly Father through ceaseless prayer. That
is how he could go on in his journey to meet his destiny, never wavering.
Our life is a journey, one that is as inward as it is outward. While we get easily caught up
in the outward travels in our earthly life for various reasons, we must not lose sight of the
inward journey God has destined for us. Our priority should be like Jesus’s – the inner
journey of life destined by God. It is not fate, a concept which is a very passive attitude
and approach; rather it is the active will of God, that we obey Him, so that His purpose of
good is accomplished for His kingdom. He has a master-plan for each and every one of

us just as He had for Jesus. But many of us down the road, consumed in the hustle of
daily life, forget this inner journey and its destiny. Jesus tells us today to follow his
footsteps – to combine both our outward and inward journeys so that we may reach our
destiny gloriously. He wants us to walk his walk in our own travelling, to follow the path
of the Gospel.
What all people seek is a self-fulfilling and soul-enriching life of happiness. To strive and
reach for this to our last breath we indeed need a long-term goal. Jesus names this goal, it
is ‘Eternal Life.’ In recognizing our weakness and sinfulness, all of us know that there is
great burden and great suffering attached when we make this the goal of our earthy life.
However, Jesus reminds us his yoke is easy and the burden is light – only when we fully
and wholeheartedly are attached to him. “Come to me, all you who labor and are
burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am meek and
humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my
burden light.”
We carry lots of baggage on our back, willingly or unwillingly, to survive in this world.
Many times we feel we need to. But Jesus wants us to get rid of this baggage so we may
be free to follow him. In the first book of Kings we hear (1 Kings 19:16, 19 – 21)
prophet Elisha portrayed as burning his plow, roasting his oxen to feed his people to
signal his commitment to the prophetic ministry of Elijah. No longer a well-to-do farmer,
Elisha would remain with fields and flocks to secure his future; from then onward he
would be completely dependent on God. And in this Gospel Jesus commands those who
desire to follow him to do the same. Almost all his disciples, starting from those twelve
till today, are called to leave everything behind once and for all and follow the Master.
These days we have been conditioned by secularism, individualism, consumerism,
polarization, all of these ideologies pulling us into a new kind of slavery, a slavery to
many dangerous and immoral values, thoughts and ideas. Knowingly or unknowingly,,
much baggage and burden have been loaded on our back by our present world and
society. Jesus our divine master and teacher invites us to realize our true freedom, that
which is found only in his footsteps. As Saint Paul puts in this way (Gal: 5. 1) “ For
freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a
yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom”.
Discipleship sounds like a job, like it itself may be the greatest burden. But it isn’t. To be
a disciple is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. If we decide to follow him, he will take us
on a journey from the upper level of the back of our minds, and down into the mess and
confusion of our world and into the face of our own limitations. Among these things he
teaches us. Sometimes we will find ourselves in the unexpected spaces, perhaps being

laughed at, and often in these moments he reaches beyond our pride. But this is the true
path of discipleship. The alternative presents itself as a respectable, but ultimately
reluctant discipleship. Sitting at the back and never moving, I serve no one but myself.
Jesus is our teacher and travel companion. Christianity is a person, a presence, a face:
Jesus, who gives meaning and fullness to human life. Jesus, as our pathfinder,
problem–solver and leader, expects us to get into his shoes; to accept the agenda he has
already charted for us; and let us work with it and for it. There is no turning back. There
is no drifting away. “Where shall we go Lord? You have the words of Eternal Life.”
God bless.