Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Can Not Be A Disciple Of Mine Without Giving Up All Your Possessions.

Today’s First Reading is taken from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (13:8-10):

In the previous section of this letter (13:1-7), Paul spoke to the Christians of Rome about their obligations to the state. Now, he speaks about their obligation to pay their personal debts: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except that of mutual love, for whoever loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Paul then speaks of the five divine precepts that deal with relationships in human society. “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, “Do not murder”, “Do not steal”, “Do not covet,” and any other commandment there may be, are all summed up in the one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is one of the two precepts that summarize God’s law entirely (Matthew 22:37-39), the other being “Love God will all your mind, and heart and might.”

Today’s Gospel is taken from Luke (14:25-33).

Once, when great crowds were travelling with Jesus, he turned to them and said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple.”

The crowds were following Jesus. Perhaps they thought he was going to be a powerful leader who would drive the Romans out of Israel and restore the Kingdom of David. But Jesus told them that he was going to suffer and die, and that his followers must be ready to suffer, and even to die for their faith. But Jesus also meant that his disciples must be ready to give up their own plans, comforts and ambitions. Carrying the cross can be hard and painful. It is not easy to be a follower of Christ.

Then Jesus tells two parables: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will you he first sit down and estimate the cost, to see if he has enough money to complete the project? If he lays the foundation, but is unable to finish the work, everyone will make fun of him, saying, “This fellow started to build but couldn’t finish.”

“What king will march into battle against another king, without first sitting down to consider whether with ten thousand soldiers, he can face an enemy coming at him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, long before the enemy approaches, he will send envoys and ask for terms of peace. In the same manner, none of you can be a disciple of mine without giving up all your possessions.”

These two parables present familiar situations. They make people think about the cost and the danger of being a disciple of Jesus. In both parables, Jesus speaks of “sitting down” first. This suggests that people must take great care when they decide whether to follow Jesus. To give up everything means to be completely loyal to Jesus, whatever the cost.


Sarah in the tent said...

Who placed faithfulness to God above love of his own father and son? Abraham. Jews at the time might have drawn this parallel and realized that Jesus was equating Himself to the God who called Abraham.

Fr. John L. Sullivan said...

Abraham placed faithfulness to God above love for his father, his son, and his wife, Sarah. There was a good reason that the Jews considered that Jesus was "equating Himself to the God who called Abraham", since He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, "eternally begotten of the Father." On the other hand, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Mary, did not consider his position as something to be coveted, but took human form and human flesh for the purpose of ransoming the human race from the burden of sinfulness by offering himself as a holocaust of atonement.