Sep 8 2019 Reflection
Sunday 8 September 2019
First Reading: WIS 9:13-18B
In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17
Second Reading: PHMN 9-10, 12-17
Gospel Reading: LK 14:25-33
Today’s Note: Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
He cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Hate your parents? Hate your own life? Carry a cross? That seems awfully harsh! Luke tells us that Jesus spoke these words to the “great crowds” that were with him (Luke 14:25). Notice that the crowds were not necessarily “following” him; they were just traveling along, watching to see what he would do next. Jesus knew their motives were mixed, so he stopped and addressed them with these challenging words.
Jesus knew where each person in that crowd drew a line. Maybe one didn’t want to leave the security of his parents’ home. Or another was worried about becoming an outcast if she followed Jesus. Maybe a third was eager to begin the journey with Jesus but would not hold on when the going got tough. Or another just went with Jesus out of curiosity.
Jesus stopped and spoke to these crowds because he wanted to shake them up a bit and help them to push past whatever obstacles might be keeping them from following him. He wanted them to see that discipleship was a serious decision, a decision he couldn’t make for them. They had to decide on their own if he was worth following.
Each of us is like the people traveling with Jesus. We all have areas of our lives, perhaps relating to a sin or a grudge or a lack of trust, that we can’t seem to release. But Jesus is calling us further down the road of discipleship. So close your eyes for a moment and imagine him calling to you. What is he saying?
As you listen to the readings at Mass today, notice if anything stands out to you. Is Jesus asking you to come closer? Is he shining light on something keeping you from him? If so, then take this insight with you when you receive Communion, and ask Jesus to write it on your heart. Trust that he will show you how to live it out this week.
“Jesus, I want to follow you even more deeply!”