Reflection Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we consider some of the personal difficulties we might have to face as disciples. First, there is no part-time discipleship. Our commitment must be wholehearted and complete. We must have a willing attitude that frees us interiorly from all other concerns so that we might be able to follow Christ regardless of our state in life or our occupation. This attitude of commitment comes not merely from our own generosity of heart but from our having been transformed into Christ through faith and baptism.

We may face conflicts when our various allegiances seem to clash. We may have family responsibilities. There are children to raise, elderly parents or infirm relatives to care for. What does discipleship require of us? We all must earn a living. Are we expected to leave our employment to follow Jesus? And if so, what then will we do? All disciples must face the interior struggle caused by the conflict of legitimate responsibilities.

The freedom of which Paul speaks comes with genuine love. If, out of love, we can negotiate successfully these conflicts caused by competing responsibilities, without compromising our total commitment to Christ, we will find a new kind freedom. This is the freedom that enables us to be faithful to both sets of responsibilities according to the proper priority. We will see that commitment to Christ is primary and the circumstances of our lives with the accompanying responsibilities set the parameters within which we live out our commitment. It is not in opposition with these responsibilities or despite them, but by means of or through them that we live out our discipleship.