Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1) 1 Kgs 19:16, 19-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
2) Gal 5:1, 13-18
Gospel: Lk 9:51-62
Inheritances are typically handed down within families from one generation to the next. Yet from time to time, one hears of someone who receives an inheritance as a complete surprise, from a person they came to know recently or over time, and who was not related as family.
Like Cara Wood, a 17-year-old high school student living in a suburb in Ohio who was surprised to learn that a regular customer at a restaurant she worked at as a part-time waitress had left the bulk of his estate of half a million dollars to her. Cara had lost her father at a young age and Bill Cruxton had lost his wife to cancer after 40 years of marriage.
The 80-plus-year-old man was a frequent visitor to the diner, eating his daily meals there. Cara was kind to him, running errands if he needed help, and checking on him if he was late for a meal. Her many acts of kindness and friendship moved Bill to repay her with his inheritance!
In this Sunday’s responsorial from Psalm 16, we hear the psalmist praising God saying, “You are my inheritance, O Lord.” And this psalm prayer invites us to reflect on what it means to claim God as our inheritance.
At baptism we were cleansed of original sin and welcomed into the family of God. We received divine adoption as sons and daughters of God. We became a new creation in Jesus Christ as the grace of baptism gave us a new identity as brothers and sisters of the Lord.
From that moment on, being a child of God became our most basic identity. This spiritual identity is deeper and stronger than even the bonds of family and community.
At confirmation we were sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit that we received first at baptism. In the power and love of the Holy Spirit we were sent on mission to witness to our Christian identity. In the same power and love of the Holy Spirit we claim our inheritance from God.
So, what do we inherit as members of God’s family? The psalmist tells us that among the many treasures we inherit from God are gifts of counsel, peace and safety of mind, body and soul. As the psalmist sings, “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”
The responsorial psalm echoes the message of the first reading and Gospel that reminds us of the primacy of our relationship with God, even as we treasure our family bonds. Jesus reminds the crowds, and us, that discipleship invites us to place all our relationships in family and community within the most fundamental relationship we have, our relationship to God our creator.
As we rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, received anew at Pentecost, may we claim our inheritance as children of God as we pray in confidence, “speak to me, Lord.”
How do you live the meaning of your baptism each day?
Sullivan is a professor at The Catholic University of America.