13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21; Galatians 5;1-, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62
Are you “all in?”
Gamblers are “all in” when they place all their chips in the center of the table. They are so convinced that they have a winning hand (or so desperate) that they are willing to bet everything. Athletes are “all in” when they endure many hours of practice and push themselves to their limits in order to be champions. Students are “all in” when they are willing to risk being called “nerds” or “sell-outs” in order to earn a scholarship. Parents are “all in” when they work and sacrifice to give their children opportunities that they never had.
Our scripture readings today ask us: “Are you ‘all in’ for God?”
When Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha, it was a sign that God had chosen Elisha to be the next prophet. Elisha wanted to first say good-bye to his parents. Elijah asked him, “Are you ‘all in’?” Elisha proved it by literally sacrificing his livelihood to answer God’s call.
When Jesus turned toward Jerusalem and began his final journey there, he was telling his disciples that he was “all in” to complete the mission that his Father gave him. As he did this, he challenged them: “Are you also ‘all in’?”
They had to turn away from the temptation to condemnation and vengeance toward the Samaritans for rejecting Jesus. After all, Jesus had already been rejected by people in his hometown (Lk 4:16-30). His disciples had to embrace a life of itinerancy and the insecurity that comes with it. Their commitment to Jesus needed to be stronger than even the traditional ties of blood and family.
St. Paul asked the church in Galatia if they were “all in” for the power of the cross and the gospel to save them. “The yoke of slavery” that they needed to throw off was the Law of Moses, which they could never hope to follow in all of its demanding details. It was a burden, yet it also gave them a sense of security. It was what they knew. But living in the freedom of Christ, was not easy, either. They had to resist the temptation to license, that is to casually sin while taking God’s mercy and compassion for granted.
When we were baptized, it was the first step that we took in being “all in” with Jesus. That commitment was sealed in Confirmation and it is nourished in the Eucharist. Marriage and Holy Orders are ways in which we ask if we are “all in” for love and service. The Anointing of the Sick and Penance help us in body, mind and soul to remain “all in” with the Lord. Each day and throughout our lives as Christians, in big ways and small ways, Jesus asks us, “Are you ‘all in?’” We pray for the wisdom, faith, hope, love and courage to answer that call when the chips are down. +