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Final Sunday Homily at Immaculate (13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C)

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
1 Kings 19:16b: 19-21
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Galatians 5:1, 13-18
Luke 9:51-52
June 26, 2016

Elijah was a great prophet serving in a time when the kings and many people were turning from the Lord.  Through many challenges Elijah kept doing what God asked of him.

While Elijah was a good prophet, he was never meant to be a prophet forever.  He was human just like us so his time on Earth was limited.

God knew this and God always had a plan for what would come next after Elijah.  It was God’s plan that Elisha should be Elijah’s successor and so God directed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor.

Elisha accepted the call but not without first wanting to say goodbye to his family.

Turning to the gospel, one person told Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go” to which Jesus tells him that “the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” signifying that it is not easy to follow Jesus.

We hear others who say they are ready to follow Jesus but they want to do other things first.  Now, in any good discernment about God’s will we need to consider two things.  First, what is God’s will and, secondly, when does God want us to do it.  When God says now, He means now.

That’s where I am at now.  God has told me to go to St. Michael’s.  This has not been easy for me.  It was not in my plan to do this but I cannot emphasize enough how much I believe this is what God wants me to do.

God has given each of us the freedom to say no.  I could have said no but didn’t.  I believe the best use of my freedom is to do what God asks of me.  If I desire to take my refuge in the Lord, then I need to go where He leads me.

Many people here have told me they wish I wasn’t leaving and I appreciate that.  I imagine there are some who are happy I am leaving.  There were those who disagreed with Jesus.  James and John asked Jesus if they should “call down fire from heaven to consume” those who didn’t welcome Jesus.  Jesus rebuked James and John for suggesting such a thing.  Each person is free to choose their own path, knowing there can be consequences to our choices.

I would imagine there are some people who wish I was staying just because they don’t like change.  You know what you have with me.  A new priest comes as an unknown.

I would also imagine that these people felt the same way when I arrived four years ago.  Over the four years, you have come to know me.

I suspect there are people who can accept that God is calling me to another parish but then wonder ‘what about Immaculate.’

Again, God has a plan.  I truly believe God would not call me to another parish without first already knowing who would succeed me.  Just like Elisha succeeded Elijah, Fr. Chumo will succeed me.  As I leave on Tuesday, he will arrive the same day.

Will Fr. Chumo be exactly like me?  No.  He isn’t supposed to be.  He is supposed to be who God calls him to be.  He won’t do things exactly the way I did.  He isn’t supposed.  We are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, so we do a lot the same in each church but we are unique individuals.

As I leave, I want to ask something of you.  When I arrived you were very welcoming to me.  Please do the same for Fr. Chumo.

If you want to show appreciation for what I have done here I believe the best way you can show such appreciation after I leave is to keep coming here for Mass and that you keep giving to Immaculate with your time, talent, and treasure.  What I have done here has never been to get you to like me.  It has been to lead you to Christ.

The last four years have not been about me.  It’s about Jesus.  When I leave on Tuesday, Jesus will still be here.


  1. Mary Ellen Smith says:

    Dear Father Jeff,

    You were with us at St. Mary’s Elmira and I thank you for having your blog as you continue to guide and teach us with your weekly blog. I have saved every blog that you have written. Thank you for your guidance and for being our Shepherd as we continue God’s journey.

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