Decision and commitment tie the readings together for this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. These two steps are but the beginning steps of the longer process of discipleship. Elisha is just beginning. Paul encourages the Corinthians at the outset of their life in the Spirit not to turn back, despite the hard road ahead. The three who enthusiastically approach Jesus in the gospel just make their first declaration; it is a commitment compromised by their former commitment, and while they are not turned away by Jesus but invited to begin discipleship.

The concluding plow image and saying perhaps still works even in our largely urban culture; people can still relate. If only we were as committed to our discipleship as we are to our economics and politics wouldn’t this be a different church!

Where is our baptism? Where is our “body” in Christ in the Eucharist? Whatever happened to that Holy Spirit in confirmation? And as for the two sacraments of service (yes, that’s the Catechism rubric) how am I doing? Actually all the sacraments, but perhaps for the anointing of the sick, are commitments. The idea and word of “sacramentum” originates in the Roman imperial army; it was the most sacred vow a soldier took to serve the emperor and fight until death for Rome. The Church picked up this rather secular word for its own purposes.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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