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Be Still!

Once the hand is laid on the plow, no one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God
I Kings 19:16,19-21; Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11; Galatians 5:1,13-18; Luke 9:51-62

Sermon Week Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 9:62

A story has come down through the years about a king who visited the monasteries of a great Zen leader named Lin Chi. (Zen is a Japanese Buddhist sect that seeks enlightenment through the practice of meditation.) The visiting king was astonished to learn from Lin Chi that there were more than ten thousand monks living there with him. Wanting to know the exact number of monks, the king asked Lin Chi, “How many followers do you have?” To which Lin Chi replied, “Four or five, perhaps.”

The number of Christians living worldwide today is more than two billion. And most, if not all of us here today, are pleased to be included in that number. But how many of those two billion Christians can be counted as true disciples? How many can be counted as true followers of Christ?

In today's Lesson, one person says to Jesus, "I will follow You, Sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home." Jesus replies, "Once the hand is laid to the plow, no one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Lk. 9:62). In other words, if you would be My disciple the time is now. If you would be My disciple, nothing else comes first -- ever! If you would be My disciple, it is not enough to "talk-the-talk." If you would be My disciple, you must "walk-the-walk."

The Apostle Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians takes us chronologically closer to Jesus than any other book of the New Testament. The letters of Paul were written first, before the four Gospels, and First Thessalonians was the earliest of his letters.

Beyond its historical importance, in Thessalonians, we encounter some of the ideas that were uppermost in Paul's mind near the beginning of his ministry. One of these was the idea of "praying without ceasing." Three different times in the letter, he tells the Thessalonians that he does this himself. And then, toward the end of the letter, he tells us, the members of the Faith Community to "pray without ceasing."

We need to understand that the words [...]

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