Sunday Church at Home, 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

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Sunday Church at Home

When God Calls!    

The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

Leader:          In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply:        Amen

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All reply:        Blessed be God for ever

Leader:          Jesus’ call to follow him asks us to give him “not less than everything”. His is not a call to a half-hearted, lukewarm commitment, but to be dedicated to the generous service of others.


First Reading: 1 Kings 19:16b.19-21

Introduction to the reading:

Elijah lived about 800 years before Jesus, and was revered as the greatest prophet in Jewish history, even though he left no written records.  In today’s passage, he is nearing the end of his life, and God instructs him to anoint a successor.

A reading from the First Book of Kings.

In those days:
The Lord said to Elijah,
“Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah
you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.”

So he departed from there
and found Elisha the son of Shaphat,
who was ploughing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him,
and he was with the twelfth.
Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him.
And he left the oxen,
and ran after Elijah, and said,
“Let me kiss my father and my mother,
and then I will follow you.”

And he said to him, “Go back again;
for what have I done to you?”
And he returned from following him,
and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them,
and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen,
and gave it to the people, and they ate.
Then he arose and went after Elijah,
and ministered to him.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2a & 5.7-11 (R. cf. 5a)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to hell,
nor let your holy one see corruption.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever.

R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.

Second Reading: Galatians 5:1.13-18

Introduction to the reading: Some time after Paul had preached the Gospel in Galatia, other Christians came who insisted that to be a good Christian one also had to follow the Jewish law and be ritually circumcised.  This caused great dissension in the Church there.  In today’s passage, Paul reaffirms their freedom from the law, and pleads for greater harmony.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians.

Bothers and sisters:

For freedom, Christ has set us free;
stand fast, therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;
only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love be servants of one another.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word,
“You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another
take heed that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh;
for these are opposed to each other,
to prevent you from doing what you would.
But if you are led by the Spirit
you are not under the law.

The word of the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia
Speak, Lord, for your servant hears; you have the words of eternal life.

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

When the days drew near for Jesus to be received up,
he set his face to go to Jerusalem.And he sent messengers ahead of him,
who went and entered a village of the Samaritans,
to make ready for him;
but the people would not receive him,
because his face was set toward Jerusalem.And when his disciples James and John saw it,
they said, “Lord,
do you want us to bid fire
come down from heaven and consume them?”

But he turned and rebuked them.And they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road,
a man said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”

And 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, he said, “Follow me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

But he said to him,
“Leave the dead to bury their own dead;
but as for you,
go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord;
but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”

Jesus said to him,
“No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back
is fit for the kingdom of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

Jesus is fierce today. He is on the march and will not be turned back. Sometimes the readings today startle us.

Jesus “rebukes” the disciples.

He shouts, “let the dead bury the dead” to a man who wants to bury his father and then follow Jesus.

He is moving fast, and his mood is intense. Get ready for it. But what is the reason for his intensity?

Do you remember back when Jesus began his public ministry?

  • We heard about this before Lent and Easter.
  • Jesus came from the desert filled with the Holy Spirit, and headed straight to his home town, Nazareth.
  • He wanted to preach his mission.
  • But his own townspeople rejected him. They were more than blunt about it: they tried to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4:14ff).

Then Jesus spent time in Galilee going from village to village, town to town and he was preaching and healing and teaching.

Now Jesus has begun his journey to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51-19:28).

  • This new journey begins with a rejection of Jesus.
  • The people in Samaritan towns turn him away.
  • He had sent messengers ahead to “warm up the audience,” so to speak, but the villagers would not let him enter.
  • Jews and Samaritans were hostile to each other, and surely that is part of the reason for the rejection of him.
  • But the gospel of Luke says the real reason is that they knew he was “going up to Jerusalem.”

   “Going up to Jerusalem.”

  • Think about that phrase.
  • The “going up” part is literal, since Jerusalem is built upon a hill or rise and you have to climb to get up to it.
  • But there is also the metaphorical sense too.
  • Jesus had set his face to go up to the height of the cross.
  • Jesus is going up to the hill of Golgotha/Calvary to endure the passion and horror of crucifixion.

For the next ten chapters in the Gospel of Luke, we will walk with  Jesus to Jerusalem.

  • Maybe we can see now why Jesus was so severe with people in the gospel reading for today.
  • He knew what going up to Jerusalem would mean.

In all this there is a question we should think about.

  • Do we want to go along with Jesus on his journey?
  • What if we hear Jesus say, “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” [and neither will we]?
  • Or, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”?

Very harsh. It would be tempting for us to abandon Jesus and run away.

Yes. But think about it.

  • Jesus is saying that Christianity (and Catholicism) are challenges, not just warm blankets.
  • Jesus values relationship with God more than safe sleep, than family funerals, even more than courtesy to relations and friends.
  • None of these are evil or bad, they are good.
  • But they receive their value from love – the unconditional love of God.
  • It is that love which gives us meaning and purpose in our life on earth.
  • We say YES to Jesus as we join him on his mission.

Every day on this Journey, Jesus would have prayed the psalms.

Every human response seems to be present in the Psalms: praise, thanks, joy, awe and complaint – sometimes loud complaints!

  • When we express these feelings, the very praying of them reminds us that God is not deaf to us, whatever our current situation.
  • The Psalms remind us that God is concerned about all we feel and all that happens to us.

In many different ways, Psalm 16 says that only in God will we find the happiness we are seeking. Let us take a moment to reflect on Psalm 16 – have a look in your missal or the bulletin today for the responsorial psalm.

This is how the Psalms can help us to pray on our journey:

(Psalm) “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.”
When I am in trouble, I turn to God for help who is my refuge and I say to God,  “Preserve me.”

(Psalm) “I say to the Lord: ‘You are my Lord.’”
 Lord God, you are my only hope, you are the only one who can help me.

(Psalm) “O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.”
Lord God, you alone can satisfy me and I am deluded if I think the pleasures of this world will bring me fulfilment.

(Psalm) “I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel.”
I thank you, Lord, that on those occasions when I did not know what to do, you helped me arrive at a decision, often with the help and advice of another. I bless you Lord for giving me counsel.

(Psalm) “I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.”
I thank you Lord that even when I sleep you look after my whole being at every moment.

(Psalm) “I keep the Lord before me always.”
Lord, I try to love you above all else, with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

(Psalm) “with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
I do not fear the future and will not fear no matter what happens because you are at my right hand and you will help me to stand firm.

Together, let us repeat the first two verses of Psalm 16:

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

From today’s Gospel reading:

And another said, “I will follow you Lord,

but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

But Jesus answered, “Let the dead bury their dead.

But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”


Following Jesus is not a part-time endeavour. If what Jesus says to the potential disciples in today’s gospel unsettles us–so be it. Let’s sit with his words for a while and reflect on where we are at this stage of our journey with him. What must we leave behind, what re-ordering must we do to respond again to a word from Jesus that’s full of promise, “Follow me”?

So we ask ourselves:

  • What touched me in the readings today?
  • What daily response am I making to Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me”?
  • What do I need to put aside to make that a fuller response?

Prayer of the Faithful


We bring our prayers to the God and Father who knows and loves each one of us far more than we can possibly imagine. We remember especially the many men, women and children who are in need at this present time.


We pray for Pope Francis as he works to lead fragile humanity to live with greater love and compassion: that he may help us to act with insight and tenderness, making our planet a loving, beautiful and secure home for all peoples.

We pray for the leadership of South Africa: that the Spirit will guide them in addressing the issues of violence, injustice and poverty, and work more diligently for those who are oppressed or forgotten by society


We pray for the homeless and all living in informal shelters in this winter weather: that God will protect them from harm, guide them to the resources that they need, and open the hearts of many to assist them.


We pray for all who are making life decisions: that they may be aware of God’s invitations planted deep within their hearts and courageously choose paths that lead to life and holiness.


We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time.


We pray for Roy Gordon-Davis,  Micky Letellier and Mary Nkanza who died this week. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. AMEN

Leader:          Let us pray our PRAYER AGAINST CRIME

from the depths of our hearts,
we pray that you will comfort, heal and bless all the victims of crime. 
We pray too that you will protect all people
from the evil of crime and violence. 
We pray especially for the conversion of all criminals –
remove all evil from their hearts
and fill them with your goodness and love,
that they may cease their evil works
and that our city and our land
may be freed from the scourge of crime and violence. 
We pray also for the grace to purge ourselves of all violence
in our own thoughts and actions,
in our family life,
in our friendships
and in our relationships with others.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.


Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:           Sovereign God, ruler of our hearts,
you call us to obedience
and sustain us in freedom.
Keep us true to the way of your Son,
that we may leave behind all that hinders us
and, with eyes fixed on him,
walk surely in the path of the kingdom,
where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All:                  Amen.


A leader who is a layperson, using no gesture, says:

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.
Alleluia. Alleluia

All:                  Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia.


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