by Fr J Mafola
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A reflection on the three readings reflects that being a follower of Christ demands a lot of effort and all other responsibilities have to take second place.
In the first reading Elisha who had been master until then, with money and possessions became now the servant of Elijah. He gave up the secure life of a rich farmer to start a prophetic life, a life full of risk and uncertainty.
Led by the spirit, Elisha broke with his past, his family and his possessions. Similarly those whom Christ specifically calls to follow him in the spreading of God’s kingdom must break away with sin and start leading a holy life. They must break away from their family and give themselves whole – heartedly to the service of the Christian community which has now become their new family.
In turn, the family whose child God has called to his service should bear in mind that their child now belongs to God and not to them.
In the Gospel Jesus appears completely detached from money and possessions. There was not a square foot of ground that he could call his own, or as he says, not a place where he could lie down and take his rest. Nothing hinders the work of a leader than the love of money.
In 1Timothy 3:3 St Paul lays down for a person to be appointed leader for a community, on condition “He must not be a lover of money.” People listen to a leader who has a simple life, who forgets himself and is concerned about the poor around him.
The most important work of the messenger of the Gospel is to preach the Good News. This is his duty says Jesus; to announce it to everyone and to announce it at all times. Unfortunately, nowadays our leaders engage in a number of works which no matter how praiseworthy, prevent them from fulfilling the all-important task of preaching the Good News.
In Galatians 5:1 St Paul says God’s messenger should be on guard at all times. When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free and not to submit again to the York of slavery. Since the spirit is our life, let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit Galatians 5: 25. Let us never be led by the spirit of pride, by the desire of money and comfort or by ambition. Let the Spirit guide us at all times.
From what St Paul teaches our leaders here is an important lesson for us members of the Christian community: We must help our leaders, priests and catechists to be truly free and to be guided by the Spirit. Let us not enslave them in any way, only by being truly free with our leaders, will they become true servants of the Christian community.
The messengers of the Gospel are our most precious treasure. We must help them become what God wants them to be. It is united to them that we must spread God’s kingdom. Whatever invitation comes our way, our reply should always be “you are my God. It is you who are my portion: Responsorial Psalm 15.