Gospel 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.”
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit. Amen
“…you cannot be my disciple”. Three times our Lord says this. How do those words affect you? Do they discourage you or stir you? What we answer will depend entirely upon our depth of knowing and loving Jesus Christ. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him. If I love Him intensely, then these words will not only stir my heart, but they will pierce my heart. I will dive deep to understand what could possibly prevent me from becoming closer to Him and then do all that is in my power to eradicate it.
Jesus has given us three things in this passage that not only ‘get in the way’ but are genuine obstacles to discipleship. Unless we do something about these obstacles with the help of His grace, Jesus says, we “cannot” ‘BE-Travel” with Him closely, as His disciple. Let us ponder the three things:
First: Primacy of His Place in my Life. “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.. He must hold first place in my heart, soul, mind…in my life. Nothing and no one can hold that place. Not even the treasured family members in my life, not even my own self! Nothing and no one must come before Him. (1st commandment)
Second: Generosity. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. “ To ‘carry one’s cross’ is to have patience (defined as the willingness to suffer). It is to willingly bear what I am asked to bear and to keep moving with Him, this is what it means to ‘come after.’ There is movement-a following, which implies I am may be suffering something but I just continue to ‘move’ with Him where He goes, even while in pain. This movement is not physical necessarily, this movement is interior. Basically, to not stop moving with Him, because my heart is hurting, or my body is hurting, to keep holding His hand so tightly that I feel everything He feels and I choose this because I love Him.
Third: Abandonment “…anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” To be a disciple one must abandon all claims and rights to rightful possessions. To renounce is to let go/abandon all rights, all claims to possessions. Does that me I get rid of all my belongings and be a hermit? No -but perhaps not allowing my well being to be determined or grounded by passing things.
So how does this all look practically? The painting above simplifies it for me. It looks like willfully allowing myself to be drawn close to Him. So close that I am face to face with God. Allowing myself to be bound to Him, through obeying His every word, placing His Word as THE WORD that rules my life, not fear, not others, not self. Giving Him Primacy. It looks like allowing His will to carry me along the way, accepting how it ‘constricts me’ or binds me, because being close to Him is worth the price. It looks like relinquishing out of love any control I could have over the things in my life, because I find Him above all those things. Essentially it means simplifying my life, so that only one thing matters-Him. This lamb in the image seems pretty peaceful- looking at us, as if to say, what are you waiting for?
Examen: Who or what do you place before God? When or, over what, do you tell Jesus to wait a minute? What tempts you to pull away from His lead, what person irritates you so much that you would say ‘no’ to Jesus in order to not have to deal with that person anymore? What can’t you part with, and if its taken away from you in your day, it kills you?
“Your ears shall hear the Word of the One speaking to Thee; This is the way, walk in it” (Is 30:21)