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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 2, 2023
Photo Credit: Posted by Chandra Ward.

Today’s Invitation

Today, we invite you to explore the crucified people of the world with the help of  Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J.; engage the centrality of concern for the poor, solidarity, and work for liberation in Catholic Social Teaching; and embody the fullness of liberation theology through the witness of Ellacuría and the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

Commentary by Tim Dulle

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1

2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16

One day Elisha went to Shunem.
There was a wealthy woman, who urged him to stay for a meal.
In the course of time, whenever Elisha traveled that way,
he would stop for a meal.

“I have come to believe that the person who stops for a meal is a prophet of YHWH.
Let us set up a small room on the roof with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp.
Then he can stay here whenever he comes to see us.”

One day Elisha arrived, and he went up to his room to rest.
Rested, he said to his disciple Gehazi,
“Call this Shunammite woman.”
He called her and she came to the prophet.

Elisha said to Gehazi,
“Tell her,  ‘You have been so generous to me.
Now what can we do for you?
Can we speak on your behalf to the ruler
or to the commander of the army?’”

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

Elisha asked Gehazi
“What can be done for her?”
He answered. “She has no children, and her husband is old.”
Then Elisha said, “Call her.”
She was called and she stood in the doorway.
“About this time next year you will be holding a son in your arms,”
the prophet of God said.
“No, prophet of YHWH,” she objected, “Do not mislead me.”
But the woman did get pregnant,
and the next year she gave birth to a son,
just as Elisha told her.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 89

Response: I will sing the story of Your love, Adonai, forever.

I will sing the story of Your love, / Adonai, forever;
I will proclaim Your faithfulness / to all generations.
Your true love is firm as the ancient earth, / Your faithfulness fixed as the heavens.
R: I will sing the story of Your love, Adonai, forever.

Happy the people who have learned to acclaim You, / who walk in the light of Your presence!
In Your Name they will rejoice all day long; / Your righteousness will lift them up.
R: I will sing the story of Your love, Adonai, forever.

You are the strength in which they glory;
Through Your favor we hold our heads high.
Our God is our shield; / the holy One of Israel is our ruler.
R: I will sing the story of Your love, Adonai, forever.

Reading 2

Romans 6:3-4,8-11

Do you not know that when we were baptized into Christ Jesus,
we were baptized into Christ’s death?
We have been buried with Jesus through baptism,
and we joined with Jesus in death,
so that as Christ was raised from the dead by God’s glory,
we too might live a new life.
But we believe that, having died with Christ,
we will also live with Christ—
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again:
death is now powerless over our Savior.
When Christ died, Christ died to sin, once for all,
so that the life Christ lives is now life in God.
In this way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin
—but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


Matthew 10:37-42

Jesus said,
“Those who love mother or father, daughter or son
more than me are not worthy of me.
Those who will not carry with them the instrument of their own death
— following in my footsteps — are not worthy of me.

“You who have found your life will lose it,
and you who lose your life for my sake will find it.

“Those who welcome you also welcome me,
and those who welcome me welcome the One who sent me.

“Those who welcome prophets just because they are prophets
will receive the reward reserved for the prophets themselves;
those who welcome holy people just because they are holy
will receive the reward of holy ones.

“The truth is, whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly ones
just for being a disciple will not lack a reward.”

The Inclusive Lectionary © 2022 FutureChurch. All rights reserved. 

The inclusive language psalms:
Leach, Maureen, O.S.F. and Schreck, Nancy, O.S.F., Psalms Anew: A Non-sexist Edition
(Dubuque, IA: The Sisters of St. Francis, 1984).
Used with permission.



The Crucified People

The theology of Ignacio Ellacuría testifies to the truth of today’s readings where we find daunting passages like “we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death,” but also in the confidence that “whoever loses their life for my sake will find it,” such that “death no longer has power over them.” Ellacuría’s writing gives us the tools to understand how the world’s injustices make this state of affairs inevitable, his death confirms this tragic logic, and his legacy kindles our hope.

Ellacuría’s most prominent idea is that of “the crucified people.” In “The Crucified People: An Essay in Historical Soteriology,” Ellacuría writes, “the majority of humanity, [which] owes its situation of crucifixion to a social order organized and maintained by a minority that exercises its dominion through a series of factors, which, taken together and given their concrete impact within history, must be regarded as sin” (208). In a meaningful way, the suffering of the world’s poor is part of the suffering of Jesus, and this reveals something of how the world works. For Ellacuría, the life of Jesus shows that the “powers of oppressive domination,” which make real the “reign of sin” in the world, cannot tolerate one who works to announce and realize the Reign of God. “Jesus dies –,” Ellacuría writes, “is killed as the four gospels and Acts so insist – because of the historical life he led” (206). Christ’s resurrection cannot be separated from the crucifixion, nor from the life which led to it. In Ellacuría’s reckoning, “the resurrection points back toward the crucifixion: the Crucified One rises, and rises because he was crucified; since his life was taken away for proclaiming the Reign, he receives a new life as fulfillment of the Reign of God” (202).

Paul tells us in Romans that “we were indeed buried with [Christ Jesus] through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might have newness of life.” Matthew’s Gospel warns that “whoever does not take up their cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Ellacuría’s life and theology help us make sense of the paradox outlined in today’s readings, that eternal joy is achieved through prophetic struggle. Inspired by the example of Saint Oscaro Romero, Ellacuría worked tirelessly to take the crucified people of El Salvador down from their  metaphorical cross. Intimately familiar with their suffering, he too met an untimely death orchestrated by those whose domination of society testified more to the reign of sin than the Reign of God. 

Authentic efforts to bring about a more just society, to bring about the Kingdom, are unlikely to win us much in the way of prestige. Today’s readings and work of Ellacuría tell us that much. What they also promise, though, is that suffering, even crucifixion, is a necessary step toward resurrection, toward salvation. 

Commentary by Tim Dulle

Tim Dulle is a Manresa Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for Ignatian Service at Saint Louis University. His scholarship focuses on the cultural history of Roman Catholicism in the United States, and he has published work on Corita Kent and the Jesuit martyrs of the UCA. He spends a lot of time thinking about questions of mission and identity in Jesuit higher education.

Engage Catholic Social Teaching


One lesser-known body of documents in the broad tradition of Catholic social thought, at least in English, are those emerging from the Second Episcopal Conference of Latin America, which met in Medellín, Colombia in 1968. The major goal of this conference was to adapt the ideas of the Second Vatican Council to the particular context of Latin America. Gustavo Gutiérrez, a pioneering thinker in the field of Liberation Theology whose work was greatly influenced by Medellín, writes in A Theology of Liberation: “Vatican II sketches a general outline for Church renewal; Medellín provides guidelines for a transformation of the Church in terms of its presence on a continent of misery and injustice” (73).

In the Medellín documents, the bishops of Latin America address their reflection to the dominant situation of injustice and exploitation which they saw as frequently characteristic of Latin American experience. The documents assert that we “cannot remain indifferent in the face of the tremendous social injustices existent in Latin America, which keep the majority of our peoples in dismal poverty, which in many cases becomes inhuman wretchedness” (14.1). In a remarkable way, the documents address a broad swath of issues, dealing with topics like education, demographics, and various forms of colonialism, in addition to more-familiar topics such as liturgy, priestly formation, and pastoral planning. The Medellín documents even speak about the “Media of Social Communication,” calling this “one of the factors which has contributed more to awaken the conscience of the masses regarding their condition of life, promoting aspirations and the urgent need for radical transformations” (16.1). One wonders what they might have written in today’s era of social media. Echoing the work of Ellacuría, the bishops implore us “to sharpen the awareness of our duty of solidarity with the poor,” and note that this “means that we make ours their problems and their struggles” (14.10).

In this body of documents, which played a major role in shaping the concerns of Latin American Liberation Theology, the bishops offer a clear and stirring set of priorities for Christian life. The work of Christians must be concern for the poor, solidarity, and work for liberation. As St. Paul reminds us, and Ellacuría helps us understand, to “think of yourselves as dead to sin” and “living for God in Christ Jesus,” we must first be willing to die with Christ, and this is usually the fate of prophets. Pouring ourselves into this work, though, is the necessary path toward the salvation which can only come through crucifixion and resurrection.


A Contemplative Exercise

We invite you to contemplate: who do you see as “crucified” in your own time and place? What forms of suffering do you see on a daily basis? Try to identify specific people and situations. How does this move you? Sit with your feelings, not trying to dismiss them or change them. 

Moreover, why are they suffering? What decisions and actions contribute to their misery? Beyond that, what systems are in place which might contribute to their being crucified? And how did those systems come to be? Sit with these reflections. How do you feel in light of the issues? Angry? Helpless? Confused? Again, work to identify your own feelings without judgment. Be attentive to the ways that your own emotions intersect with the situations that come to mind. 

Most importantly: what can you do to ease their suffering? How can you take up your own cross to bring them down from theirs? Do you feel that God is calling you to accompany them in their situation? Is there any action you can take? On a broader level, what would it mean for you to contribute to dismantling the systems which create this suffering? For now, merely hold your feelings and intuitions, without any pressure or judgment. 

Consider, finally, this quote from Ellacuría in “Christian Spirituality:” “Christian spirituality ought to be centered Christologically on mission, which is the proclamation and realization of the Reign of God in history…The spiritual moment cannot be separated from the missional; the moment of contemplation cannot be separated from the moment of action” (281).

A Witness

Ignacio Ellacuría

Never content to confine his academic activity to the classroom, Ignacio Ellacuría was a fierce activist as well. Born in the Basque region in 1930, the homeland of St. Ignatius of Loyola and Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Ellacuría himself joined the Jesuits in 1947. He eventually found himself living and working in El Salvador at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA). By the late 1970s, Ellacuría had become the rector (president) of the university even as the country slid into a brutal civil war which would last over a decade. In his time at the UCA, Ellacuría consistently marshaled the resources of the university and directed his own energies to working for a just resolution to the conflict while seeking to create a more humane society, in contrast to the brutal oppression inflicted on the nation’s poor by the ruling elite. On November 16, 1989, Ellacuría, five of his fellow Jesuits at the UCA, and two of their companions who were staying on a campus presumed to be safer than the surrounding neighborhoods, were killed by the Salvadoran government in an overnight raid. Almost certainly, these murders were a retaliation for the university’s consistent support for those on the margins of Salvadoran society.

For more on Ignacio Ellacuría, see: 

  • Teresa Whitfield, Paying the Price: Ignacio Ellacuría and the Murdered Jesuits of El Salvador, (Temple University Press: 1994).
  • Michael E. Lee, ed. Ignacio Ellacuría: Essays on History, Liberation, and Salvation, (Orbis Books, 2013). 

A Community

The Ignition Solidarity Network

Beginning in 1990, a group began to organize a vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, home to the School of the Americas, which is believed to have trained the soldiers who killed the Jesuits at the UCA in El Salvador. Beginning in 1996, students, faculty, and staff from Jesuit colleges and universities began to gather in conjunction with this vigil. This annual gathering eventually developed into what is today called The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Held in Georgia until 2009, and in Washington, D.C. since 2010, the Teach-In brings together members of the “Ignatian Family” to learn, pray, and advocate together in the nation’s capital. The organizing body is called the Ignatian Solidarity Network, and their mission is to “Network, advocate, and form advocates for social justice animated by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the witness of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and their companions.” The Teach-In takes place each year on the weekend closest to the November 16th anniversary of the UCA murders. The spirit of Ellacuría, his fellow Jesuits, and their companions, along with so many other examples and exemplars of social justice work, is alive and well at the Teach-In.


Mary Pimmel-Freeman Portraits of the UCA Martyrs

In 2006, then a senior at Rockhurst University, Mary Pimmel-Freeman painted a series of eight portraits to commemorate the UCA Martyrs, the six Jesuits and their companions Elba and Celina Ramos. Each portrait conveys something of the spirit of its subject, and together they help us draw closer to these figures who worked so bravely for the cause of peace and justice amid the Salvadoran civil war of the 1980s. 

Image description: Against a multicolored background, the images of eight different people are painted surrounding the words: “Im Memoriam. The Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador and Their Companions. Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J.; Amando López, S.J.; Joaquín López y López, S.J.; Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J.; Segundo Montes, S.J.; Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J.; Julia Elba Ramos; Celia Ramos.”

Posters are available for purchase at