A reading from the holy Gospel accordinng to Luke 14:25-33
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.”
In times of amazing deeds and miraculous healings, at the height of Jesus’ popularity with the people the Gospels recount “great crowds” following Him. Elsewhere in the Gospels, we remember His apostles fighting over who will have the higher place in Heaven next to Him.
And it is during these times that Our Lord prepares His disciples of the reality that His way is the way of the Cross to Calvary and ultimately to the renunciation of one own’s life. Our Lord is glorious God who chooses the way of suffering love and asks of us the same.
It is not easy to be a Christian in these times, or in any time. With our personal weaknesses and discouragement, with the external assaults on Christian values, one wonders if we could ever live the call of the Lord well. As the author of the first reading today reminds us, “Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?”
We cannot incline to God without His help.
In today’s Gospel Our Lord asks of us two things: 1. Do you love me above all other good relationships in your life?
2. Do you love me more than your own life and comforts?
They are not questions easily answered by the half-hearted and the comfort-seekers.
If we are honest with ourselves, there are many days when we fall short. Our attachments to material and emotional security and comfort drives our decisions more than our love of God. We forget all that is good in our lives is from God, is for God and will return to Him.
Let us pray for the grace of true poverty, constant conversion and final perseverance.