Jesus wanted His disciples then and now to understand the demands and dimensions of following Him day by day
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 4, 2022): 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.
Our love for our parents, children, siblings, friends, even our ideas or ideals, must never take precedence over our belief in and love for Christ.
Today’s readings remind us once again that the divine way of looking at things is not the human way. In the Gospel, Christ demands a total commitment that nothing and no one else should surpass or interfere with in any way. “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. … In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple’” (Luke 14:25-27,33). What our Lord says is hard to hear and understand and even harder to accept and practice. The very word hate when related to our possessions is hard, but when applied to our families and ourselves seems utterly impossible. But we must realize that Jesus wants us to put our relationship with Him first and foremost in our lives. Our love for our parents, children, siblings, friends, even our ideas or ideals, must never take precedence over our belief in and love for Christ. Nothing must come ahead of our lives as His disciples and servants.
Most of us have obligations to others. And, generally, fulfilling those responsibilities is worthy part of our everyday lives and duties. However, Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that if we want to call ourselves His followers, we must not allow anything to come between our Savior and ourselves. If there is a decision that we need to make that pulls us to serve our Lord or another to choose our own will or that of others, we must say “Yes” to Him alone. More than that, just as He was willing to suffer for us on the cross, we must be willing to take up our own crosses and suffer for Him. On the subject of such suffering St. John Paul II said, “To the prospect of the Kingdom of God is linked hope in that glory which has its beginning in the cross of Christ. The Resurrection revealed this glory. … Those who share in the sufferings of Christ are also called, through their own sufferings, to share in glory.” Out of love, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, came into the world and died for us. Out of love, we are called to live for Him and to die to ourselves -- and then to rise up with Him.