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Love Equals Truth

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:16B, 19-21

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Second Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

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.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

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.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

NAB

DEV_J26

Years ago, when I was a young Navy wife, I started a conversation driven by the devil. And like most rides with Lucifer, this one drove me off a cliff.

I’m still recovering.

At the time, I wasn’t as well-educated as the other officers’ wives. I also wasn’t as thin, polished, or organized. Envy and jealousy accompanied me and my toddler everywhere. Competition drove me to try crazy diets, “one-up” the other wives, and strive for perfection.

I was twenty-four years old and believed my own PR. Needless to say, I lacked humility and a relationship with God.

Despite my husband’s tireless-yet-ignored attempts to remind me that I was enough, I dove into the sin of gossip, carrying my insecurities with me. And like most repetitive sins, gossip took me down slowly until one day I was neck-deep with no way out.

Let me tell you about that day.

One afternoon, I was chatting with a fellow Navy wife about a mutual friend who was pregnant. I started praising this mutual friend and her parenting skills but wound up trashing her and her husband and their “not-so-perfect” relationship. The other wife agreed with everything I said and ended the conversation. Because she had agreed with me, I felt vindicated in my sharing.

Except I was wrong. She hadn’t agreed with me.

The wife I was talking to went to our mutual friend and told her everything I had said. I was caught in my own jealousy trap and humiliated. My words had ripped her apart like the whips which had taken chunks out of Jesus’s flesh. She was angry and hurt. She never spoke to me again.

I’d become a slave to my fear. In my desire to be accepted, I ended up experiencing complete rejection. It was a vicious circle and it took losing a friendship to recognize it.

In today’s second reading, Saint Paul writes “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He instructs us not to fight each other, instead to “serve one another through love.” Because love breaks those chains of fear and jealousy as Christ’s love washes away our sins.

I’ve seen the damage caused by my insecurities. I’ve let my fears take control. When you give into sin, the devil becomes your chauffeur.

So allow Jesus to take the wheel. Fight fear and jealousy with love, love of self and love of neighbor.

Love equals truth.

Reach out and love your neighbor today, whether they be family or a stranger. Show someone the face of Christ in your kindness of deed or of word.

photo credit

Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years, is a full-time liturgist, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.

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