We need some historical perspective to truly understand the first reading from 1 Kings, but once we grasp that viewpoint, there is a solid stewardship message. Elijah, like Moses and the Apostles, has been called by God to serve Him. Elijah and his follower Elisha served in the northern kingdom of Israel. Although there are some subtle pieces of information in today’s reading, the base of it is Elijah with the intercession of God calling Elisha to follow him. The cloak or “mantle” thrown over Elisha by Elijah is symbolic of him being called to be a prophet. God calls us in a similar way. Stewardship calls for us to assume the mantle of God, to follow Him, and to serve him. Like Elisha we have a vocation — the most important aspect of it is to be a disciple and a steward.
In Luke’s Gospel, we join Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem, His passage that leads Him to His death and resurrection. The stewardship key to this Gospel nonetheless is Jesus’ call to three different persons to “follow me.” In the first reading, Elisha receives the call from Elijah, but responds basically “Yes, I will follow you, but first let me say goodbye to my mother and father.” The three people included in the Gospel respond to Jesus the same way, “Yes, I will follow you, but first let me…” As mentioned, just as we are called to some vocation, the basis of our calling is to follow Jesus — to be a disciple of the Lord. As harsh as it may seem, there are no excuses for not being a disciple. That is the point of the Gospel. Our call to discipleship, to stewardship, is not timeless; it is urgent and it is immediate. It is something we must do right now.
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