In today’s first reading, God tells the prophet Elijah to prepare Elisha to succeed him. Succeeding Elijah will be no easy task; he has spent his life facing threats from the kings he has confronted about their infidelity to the God of Israel. The psalm illustrates the emotional and spiritual distress that the prophets’ steadfast faithfulness to God brought them. Paul’s description of the Christian’s freedom from the law as opposed to “the desire of the flesh” puts this struggle at the very heart of Christian identity. The reading from Luke’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ decision to journey toward Jerusalem, where he knows he will meet his earthly fate. Following Jesus—like succeeding Elijah as prophet—will now become more difficult. Unlike his calls to the first disciples, Jesus encounters those who are not ready or are not strong enough to journey with him.
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