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Move Forward, Don’t Look Back | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 4 minutes



Today’s readings remind us that we can’t just serve God when it’s convenient—we follow God all the time, in every circumstance.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

The first reading from the first book of Kings tells the story of Elijah’s call to Elisha. God wanted Elijah, who was a prophet, to have an apprentice who would take over for him when Elijah’s work was done. When Elijah told Elisha to follow him, Elisha wanted to go say good-bye to his parents. He was told that he just had to come. So, he slaughtered the ox he was using to plough a field and made it a meal for him and Elijah—symbolizing that there was nothing holding him back from going.

In the second reading, Paul teaches about the freedom of God. Freedom isn’t mean for us to do whatever we want. It’s about not being tricked, bullied, guilted or shamed into doing what’s wrong. It means that no matter what’s going on, we can always choose to do what’s right.

The Gospel is similar to the first reading.  This time, people come up to Jesus and ask to follow him. He knows that not everyone has the courage to make Jesus the most important thing in their lives. He doesn’t invite everyone to leave everything to go with him, because some of them only wanted to go as long as things went well. Jesus reminds the people who would like to follow him just when it’s convenient of Elijah’s story.  Jesus is fully committed to us, and would like us to be fully committed to him.

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C


Break Open the Word with Your Family


What does freedom mean to you? What do you think it would be like to be perfectly free?


It sounds mean that Jesus didn’t want that one guy to go bury his father. Jesus was really saying that not even our parents or commitments to other things should be more important than God is to us. Sometimes people (even people we love and respect) might encourage us to back down from what is right, or to do the wrong thing. How hard would it be for you to put everything else aside and be guided by God alone?


What do you think the phrase “foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” means? How does it apply to you?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.


A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.


The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”


Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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