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The Exodus Toward Life, Giving Life

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The Exodus Toward Life, Giving Life


Roman rite

1 Kings 19, 16.19-21; Ps 16; Gal 5, 1.13-18; Lk 9.51 to 62

Ambrosian Rite

Es 24.3 to 18; Ps 49; B 8, 6-13a; Jn 19.30 to 35

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost


1) The final journey to Jerusalem.

In chapter 9 of Saint Luke, the last part of which is read in of today’s liturgy, some important moments in the life of Christ are described.

Let me recall them briefly.

First of all, Jesus sends the Twelve Apostles on a mission. They have heard and received his announcement and then they can spread it (see Lk 9, 1-6). When they come back, he involves them in the multiplication of the loaves that is not only a symbolic anticipation of the Eucharist, but a true and profound revelation of Jesus and of his existence and, therefore, a true revelation of the Eucharistic gesture. For the evangelist St. Luke the distribution of loaves, the Last Supper and the supper at Emmaus are the pillars that show the logic of the existence Jesus: a life as a gift. (ibid. 9.10 to 17).

Then, Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah awaited by the people of Israel (ibid. 9.18 to 21). This is a very important moment because Jesus is recognized as the Christ of God. However, in order to discover it completely, his death and resurrection are required. Jesus then begins to announce his own destiny of passion (Ibid. 9, 22- 23). It is a vocation that requires sacrifices. Who wants to follow Jesus must, like him, give up his life in order to find it (ibid. 9.23 to 26).

Furthermore, to support his apostles on this journey, Jesus gives to the three Apostles he likes   more, a “taste of his glory: Transfiguration (Ibid. 9.28 to 36). After he has descended from the mountain, he reveals once again his strength against the evil (healing of the epileptic boy: Ibid. 9.37 to 43) and announces again his passion and death (Ibid. 9.43 to 45). However, the disciples do not understand and they start arguing about who is the greatest among them (Ibid. 9, 46-50).

Here we are at the end of Chapter 9. In this passage (verses 51-62) are described the firm decision of Christ to carry out his exodus going to Jerusalem, and the three answers He gives of how the disciple should follow the Master.

It is worth to notice that, in this final part of the exodus of Christ to the Father, the acts of mercy, miracles and teachings continue.


2) The demands of discipleship.

Jesus takes the road to Jerusalem where -with awareness, courage and determination “€“ he goes to give his life for those who will kill him (Ibid. 9:51). The Son of God walks resolutely towards Jerusalem, strong and determined he turns his face (actually the Greek text uses this expression: “Made his face like stone and it has been translated as “Jesus took the firm decision “) towards the Easter of Liberation for us. It is a journey made with great effort and firm decision, but it is a free and a freedom journey.

Christ has set us free for the freedom of the children of God. To be free following Jesus, one must walk in the Spirit and keep the commandments given by God for love. The Ten Commandments are not a hymn to a “do not”€, they are the “I do A “yes to God, the “yes to love. If I say “yes to love, I say “no to not loving, but this “no is a consequence of the “yes that is from God and makes us love.

Let”€™s rediscover and live the Ten Words of God (in the Greek text it is written “logoi which is almost always translated as commandments but literally means “words). We say “yes to these “ten ways of love perfected by Christ to defend man and guide him to true freedom.

If we want to fully live this ways we must follow Christ in his exodus to Jerusalem, which is not only in the one to the Holy Land but also the one to Heaven.

This following has at least three characteristics.

The first characteristic is that of the detachment from or of the true relationship with material goods.

In fact, in today’s Gospel we see that a man on the road to freedom, asks Jesus permission to follow him. This man is already aware that discipleship involves an itinerant life: “I will follow you wherever you go (Ibid. 9, 57). But there is something more that he needs to know: required are not just material poverty or the simply fatigue of a pilgrim life. The first gift that Jesus gives us if we follow him in poverty, is that of freedom from things. In fact, if we want to possess them, they possess us, if we make them the objective of our life, we are used as a means of production of things. If they are not goals but means, we can use them and we need them. They are needed to make a human life that is the life of sons and brothers. It is the life of communion, while too often we fight until our death. The first condition for following Christ and be free people that is the first gift that God wants to give us is spiritual poverty. If someone is called, even material poverty is a great gift of God. This poverty means that we are not what we have, otherwise we identify ourselves with things that become our god or, to be more precise, our idol, our goal for which we destroy others and, finally, ourselves.

The second characteristic is the one of the relationship with people so that nothing is to be preferred to God.

Faced with the request of Jesus to follow him to live in the light and in love, the second man in today’s Gospel asks for a postponement. Jesus’ answer is categorical: “Let the dead bury their dead (Ibid. 9, 59 -60). Certainly it is a paradoxical language. It is not a question of burying or not burying the loved ones. It’s a matter of realizing that a novelty has come and that this novelty makes everything fade.

I hope not to be wrong if I say that this is an invitation to chastity, to which all are called: no person, no duties, no affection is absolute. Only God, whom we have never seen, is absolute. Everything else is relative and above all never to be owned. The relationship of mutual love, that is the same love that God has a free gift for us, it is the same love that we have for each other, mutual forgiveness and donation of self.

If the first characteristic of discipleship is detachment from things and the second is detachment from people, the third is detachment from self, which is not reducible to past history. The human being is structure of demand, desire of infinity, and openness to God’s promise.

In fact, in the third dialogue, we read of another stranger who is willing to follow Jesus but asks for time to say goodbye to those at home. The Greek verb means to say goodbye and leave. Jesus answers with a kind of proverb: “He who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. If the farmer wants to plow, goes ahead and cannot afford to look back. In other words, discipleship does not tolerate delays, distractions or nostalgia,

Said briefly: following Christ is a choice of freedom that comes from detachment from things and people and trust in God.

3) The following of the consecrated Virgins in the world.

We understand, with the mind and also with the heart, that following Jesus means to be rooted in his word and accept His Person of Messiah and Son of God without reserve, without putting our thoughts and our family affections before him.

In this regard, the consecrated Virgins in the world testify that no affection is preferred to God. It is the chastity of the soul and of the body, their being “wives of a God to love absolutely. At the first place is God. Looking back is regret, hesitation. The choice for Christ is the continuous conversion that virginity makes steady and turns onto an offer and in a sacrifice pleasing to God.

To follow Jesus virginally means to follow him unconditionally. Following Christ calls for fidelity and love that always put in first place God and His kingdom. The result is a fruitful and joyful life. Indeed, the Savior said: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his daily cross, and follow me because who would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it “(Lk 9.23 to 24). Therefore, the following of Christ is a way of the cross not because pain and death should be the ultimate call of life, but because, as it was for Christ, the mystical grain of wheat fallen into the earth, from his redeeming death new life was born.

Any sacrifice made to follow the Son of God, does not simply mark a journey of sterile mortification, but opens the way to a life that unceasingly is renewed in grace and makes the person able to walk the path of true freedom, one that is given to us in Christ. The Virgins witness it significantly so that all Christians may respond to this vocation: “You, my brothers, were called to freedom, as long as this freedom is not as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love you may be servants of each other … I say then, walk in the Spirit.

Therefore, the vocation of each of us to follow Christ is a call to authentic freedom that is a gift of the Father in the Son through the Spirit that enlightens and leads to the fullness of life.

Patristic Reading

Saint Augustin of Hyppo

Sermo 50


On the words of the gospel, Lc 9,57 etc., Where the case of the three persons is treated of, of whom one said, “€œI will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,”€ and was disallowed: another did not dare to offer himself, and was aroused; the third wished to delay, and was blamed.






1 (Lc 9,57

2 (Ph 2,21

3 (Mt 7,21

4 (Jn 2,25

5 (Lc 9,58

6 (Lc 9,59).

7 (Ep 6,2

8 (Lc 9,60

9 (Ct 2,4 Sept.

10 (2M 7,22

11 (Lc 9,61

12 (Lc 9,62

13 (Rm 11,3 etc.

14 (Is 1,9

15 (Rm 11,5-6.

16 Praesumis).



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