June 26, 2022 –
The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem ….
This Sunday, as we return to Sundays in Ordinary Time, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem. The name “Jerusalem” literally means “city of peace”. Yet Jesus knew that Jerusalem would be the place of His crucifixion and death. When the event in today’s Gospel Reading occurred, Jesus knew that the easy life of His first thirty-some years was over.
The Church will be celebrating the Sundays of Ordinary Time until the Church year concludes at the end of November. Over the course of these weeks, our Gospel passage each Sunday will follow this journey of Jesus towards Jerusalem as Saint Luke the Evangelist recorded it.
As Jesus heads resolutely to the City of Peace, He knows that His vocation is to bring peace to each human person. Jesus at the Last Supper said, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you” [John 14:27]. For Jesus, this physical trek towards Jerusalem symbolized the more important journey that he would later make on Good Friday up the hill of Calvary. We cannot overestimate the importance of Jesus’ death. Without that moment, everything in our own lives would be meaningless, because to paraphrase Our Lord: “what would it profit a man if he could gain everything in this world, but not eternal life in the next?”
Within your life, ask yourself how seriously you take the two most important moments in your life: the two moments that determine whether your life will be one of peace. You speak of and pray about these two moments when you pray the “Hail Mary”. The first is now, and the second is the hour of your death. You don’t pray in the “Hail Mary” about the hour of your birth or the birth of your first child, nor about your graduation or the graduation of your last child; nor about the day of your wedding or about the day you bought your first house. You don’t even pray about the day of your baptism.
The two most important moments of your life are now and the hour of your death. Maybe we know other persons who live as if the moment of death will never arrive: they live only for “now”. The fact is, though, that every “now” of our life bears a direct impact on which eternal dwelling God will send us packing for at the moment of our death. Everything we do now, or don’t do now, bears on that moment at the hour of death.
Each of us as a Christian does not control his or her life. If you do believe you are in control of your life, the life you’re imagining as your own is certainly not the life God wants for you, and which Jesus died to give you. If you are firmly resolved to prepare your self for the moment of your death, you will be firmly resolved in the “now” of every moment to follow what God is calling you to do.
The call God makes to men and women to embark upon various ways of life—to marriage, to consecrated life, and to the ordained priesthood—is definitely important for each person. But those calls are not the only calls God makes. Every day God calls us to follow Him in different ways by serving others. If we worthily receive the True Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, He will strengthen us at every “now” of the coming week to more closely follow Jesus, in order to live more fully, bearing the peace of our heavenly Father.