Reading 1, Neh 2:1-8
1 In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, since I was in charge of the wine, I took the wine and offered it to the king. Now, he had never seen me looking depressed before.
2 So the king said to me, 'Why are you looking depressed? You are not sick! This must be a sadness of the heart.' Thoroughly alarmed by this,
3 I said to the king, 'May the king live for ever! How can I not look depressed when the city where the tombs of my ancestors are lies in ruins and its gates have been burnt down?'
4 The king then said to me, 'What would you like me to do?' Praying to the God of heaven,
5 I said to the king, 'If the king approves and your servant enjoys your favour, send me to Judah, to the city of the tombs of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.'
6 The king -- with the queen sitting beside him-said, 'How long will your journey take, and when will you come back?' Once I had given him a definite time, the king approved my mission.
7 I then said to the king, 'If the king approves, may I be given orders for the governors of Transeuphrates to let me pass through on my way to Judah?
8 Also an order for Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of the gates of the citadel of the Temple, for the city walls and for the house which I am to occupy?' These the king granted me because the kindly hand of my God was over me.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept at the memory of Zion.
2 On the poplars there we had hung up our harps.
3 For there our gaolers had asked us to sing them a song, our captors to make merry, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'
4 How could we sing a song of Yahweh on alien soil?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither!
6 May my tongue remain stuck to my palate if I do not keep you in mind, if I do not count Jerusalem the greatest of my joys.
Gospel, Lk 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
58 Jesus answered, 'Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'
59 Another to whom he said, 'Follow me,' replied, 'Let me go and bury my father first.'
60 But he answered, 'Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.'
61 Another said, 'I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good -- bye to my people at home.'
62 Jesus said to him, 'Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'