Christ has called us to be His disciples. What is our response?
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 8, 2019): WIS 9:13-18; PS 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14,17; PHMN 9-10,12-17; LK 14:25-33
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The passionate message Jesus shares with the crowd of people journeying with Him in the Gospel for this Sunday is difficult, even confusing.
He seems to speak abruptly, almost as though He had been considering what to say and does not want to put it off any longer. “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” (Luke 14:26-27). Christ uses an extreme word when He refers to hating family members. But He is determined to get across the idea that nobody and nothing must come before our love and dedication to Him. We choose to follow our Lord at Baptism, of course. Yet, in reality, we make decisions every day that reveal whether or not we are His true disciples.
Jesus goes on to tell a couple of brief parables that force us to ask ourselves if we are truly ready and willing to be Christians. Are we prepared to put the will of God first in our life? Are we eager to travel the way of our Redeemer wherever it takes us? As Catholics, we cannot allow ourselves to take our commitment to our Lord lightly. Our Creator gave us reason and free will and, every day, every moment really, He asks us to use these gifts to say, “Yes!” to Him. But it is always up to us to keep our relationship with God our first priority. This essential bond will transform us as well as our connections with all those around us. We are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior – or we are not. Jesus wanted those who heard Him two thousand years ago to consider and understand that clearly. And now, He wants us to do the same.