In the First Reading, from the First Book of Kings, Elijah is told by God to transfer his authority to Elisha. He is very willing to respond to his call, but first asks if he can bid farewell to his parents. Elijah’s harsh remark is no harsher than Jesus’ in today’s Gospel. This is a story of prophetic succession. It is done not only by spoken word, but also by symbolic action, i.e., passing of the mantle which represents the handing down of prophetic authority from Elijah to Elisha.
The Second Reading is taken from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. Paul speaks about Christian freedom. Christian freedom is not a license to do what we want especially not a license to follow every urging of the flesh. Rather, Christian freedom calls us to be free to serve others in love. The Spirit, on the other hand, is that part of us that seeks to follow God’s promptings. If we submit to the Holy Spirit, he will help us to resist the inclinations of the flesh and embrace the ways of Jesus.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of Luke. Several disciples claim to be His followers, but first they have to fulfill other obligations. The point here is that following Jesus is not a question or action of getting up and walking in His footsteps. Rather, it is a change of heart and focus of those actions that relate to our commitment to follow Jesus whenever or wherever He leads us.