31st Week in Ordinary Time
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, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
MEN WITH METTLE: “By the time the fools have learned the game, the players have dispersed”, is a wise saying. This land has produced an array of saints like St Bakhita, St Martin De Porrus, St Charles Lwanga etc. who are models for us. Their contribution to the Church and community are priceless. Jesus does demand a no non-sense following of Him. A follower of Jesus has to reject all that he holds dear, even life itself. He is the supreme object of his focus and demands undivided attention. At a time when our religious beliefs and Christian practices in Africa are challenged by demonic forces, it is time to anchor our belief in the Person of Jesus. No halfhearted approach and half-baked beliefs will suffice to respond to the situation today. May the saints of our land inspire us and help infuse us with a strong faith and steely resolve.
Prayer: God of heaven and earth, May your saints lead us the way.
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP: In the Gospel of Luke, the Good News is proclaimed for the first time in Nazareth (Lk 4:16-21) in Galilee. Between Luke 4 and 9, Jesus ministers in and around Galilee in the north of Israel. In Lk 9:51, Jesus resolutely begins his journey towards Jerusalem in the south of Israel. He will reach Jerusalem in Lk 19:28. Between chapter 9 and 19, Jesus is “on the way”, and often there would be a crowd rallying behind him. So, today’s gospel text begins with these words, “Great crowds were travelling with him…” But Jesus, did not want great crowds. He wanted some faithful disciples. So, from time to time he turned around and discouraged them a bit, challenging them, and reminding them that his destiny is the cross and resurrection in Jerusalem. Are we ourselves aware of the demands of rallying behind Jesus? Do we understand the cost of discipleship? Are we ready to bear the cross – the challenge – that comes with being a disciple?