As we step back into Ordinary Time from Eastertide, the liturgy harkens us to steel ourselves in meeting the daily rigour of our call to be a disciple of Christ.

Amid all the unsettling news we hear today, of wars and civil unrest, rising prices and stagflation, I find myself feeling like there are more pressing things to deal with before I consider how I am to proclaim the Good News. A new addition to the family, makes it more imperative that I prioritise the needs and duties I owe to those around me who need me. Surely, the call to speak to someone about God’s love isn’t so pressing!

Having this as a backdrop, Elisha’s calling in the first reading is jarring in its apparent suddenness. Elijah throws his cloak over Elisha whilst Elisha is going about his work. He was given no chance to mull over the decision to follow the great prophet, or even to “kiss his father and mother” before following Elijah. There is a sense that Elisha needed to follow Elijah right there and then or never at all. Never mind that he perhaps required some time to wrap some loose ends before taking the plunge.

Just as Elijah called Elisha, Jesus calls us to follow him. His teaching on the difficulties and challenges of discipleship are even more stark – to expect rejection (Lk 9: 53), to have no expectation of creature comforts (Lk 9:58), to put the proclamation of the Gospel above duties to family and society (Lk 9:60), to not even permit a postponement of response to the call (Lk 9:62).

So how do we reconcile the imperative laid on us by the Lord in being a disciple with what we have to do in daily life? I find that the second reading provides a helpful bridge.

Being a Christian is freedom, and we are free to live in love. Not just a romantic love, but love that serves – to love my neighbour as myself – and is guided by the Spirit. What this does not look like, as St Paul writes, is “snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces” (Gal 5:15).

Maybe then, it is a question of ordering my life and my priorities, so that I am guided by the Spirit in carrying out my duties, and not using them as a means to postpone or evade the call to live a holy life.

After all, if I believe that I am truly loved by God, how can I not respond to his call? If I really believe the Good News and what the Church teaches, how can I keep it to myself?


Written by: Vincent Ong