June 26, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time -

A Reflection by Fr. Leo

 

We all have comfort zones.  From how we start our day with a cup of coffee (thank you God), to where we live, to the friends we keep and how we save our money for the future these and more are all part of how we maintain our comfort zone.  Think of the time when many left this neighborhood because their comfort zone was being challenged.  Our comfort is important to all of us.

 

The national debate on automatic guns is at one level a struggle of establishing comfort zones.  One group says we are not comfortable without our guns, and the other is saying we are uncomfortable with having automatic weapons in the hands of civilians.  I don't know where you weigh in on this issue, but I bring it up as one example of how comfort zones can be a serious issue for people.

 

The Scriptures today make it clear that to live in God, for us the Spirit of Christ, will always challenge our comfort zone.  Elisha wanted to say goodbye to his parents and when challenged by Elijah offers his oxen as food for his people to eat.  Huge self-sacrifice!

 

In the Gospel the disciples wanted to call down fire to consume a people who did not welcome them.  They wanted to defend their comfort zone.  For Jesus, discipleship meant not knowing where one was going to rest his or her head at the end of the day.  And to those who wanted to bury or say goodbye to their parents and family, Jesus, like Elijah challenged their commitment.

 

St. Paul highlights another conflict between discipleship and self-defined comfort zones.  After reminding the people to "love your neighbor as yourself," he points out that this is the opposite of biting and devouring one another.  Needing our way in affairs that are not our concern, leads us to bite at people as we try to control what is not in our purview.

 

The simple command to love others and ourselves is thus a constant challenge to our comfort zones, our need to control what is not ours to control.  This week I think we would all be wise to contemplate that simple command to love our neighbor as ourselves, for to fail our neighbor is to fail God and our truest self. Christ died for all, not just for some.