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TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME SEPTEMBER 4, 2022



A reading of the holy Gospel according to Lk 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.”


REFLECTION

"Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”


It is not from your own possessions that you are bestowing alms on the poor, you are but restoring to them what is theirs by right. For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. Thus, far from giving lavishly, you are but paying part of your debt.

- St. Ambrose


As I read this Gospel, the very first thought in my mind was that surely the Lord did not mean that I should abandon my husband, family and sell all my possessions and go follow Him. But where would I follow Him? There is no road off the interstate that states, Road to follow Jesus. Is there?


There are many vocations. And every vocation whether it be married life, having children, working a desk job or working at a factory, being an engineer, doctor, nurse or religious life of a nun, monk or priest, requires periods of discernment, understanding and knowing if we can use our vocation for the benefit of God and others. After all, the first commandment to love God before all is there for every human being, no matter what the vocation.


If possessions are money, cars, houses, clothes, and recreation sites, one needs to understand that Jesus came to serve the poor not enrich them or the disciples with material goods. Yet these are possessions that all the above vocations can say "yes" or "no" to.


We all are disciples of Jesus. The questions posed by St Ambrose is the following: Are any of our possessions really ours? We might have accumulated the wealth to pay, but were these gifts given to me from God so that I could accumulate "stuff", or are these gifts meant to be shared with all. After all, whatever gift, whatever advantage we had over another one are not man made but God given.


Need for possessions can affect all walks of life: need to keep the possessions affects all but we need to be mindful of this trap. Think about what we have--do we use it all, do we hoard, do we accumulate? Ways to see the other side of possession: work in an underprivileged facility for children, nursing homes, soup kitchen, Catholic Charities, and poor neighborhoods, to name a few, and see what side of the equation you are.


To have or not to have, that is the question.


God Bless You






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