Gospel Reflection Sept 4 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, September 4
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
Today’s Gospel, LUKE 14:25-33 is a challenging message from Jesus to the large crowds. When we first hear it or read it, it comes across in a way that makes us feel uncomfortable. We must “hate” in order to…Nothing good ever seems to come out of hate. Yet that is precisely what Jesus says today.
Upon further reflection, we are reminded of the many challenging statements Jesus makes throughout all of scripture. Why does Our Lord make these statements that do not sit well with us? Isn’t Jesus on our side? Does Our Lord provide examples for us on how to do it?
The answer is that He does. He shows us the way to the Father. He knows what we must do with His help in order to live in His Kingdom for all Eternity. He is not going to hold anything back from our salvation, rather Jesus presents us with a real sense of how we must change and grow in our conversion.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, one of the first questions is, “Why did God make us? God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this world so that we can be together forever in Heaven…” When we reflect on this question, we can think of things we have been taught throughout our lives by the examples of our parents, our family and friends. We remember that most of us have all been taught to put God first, then family, then work…in that order and for good reason…JESUS IS EMPLOYING US TO ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE…That is His message for us today. We need to hear this from the Lord because we often forget, become distracted or overwhelmed with the day in and day outs of life. We get confused and disorganized; things tend to get out of order.
If we struggle to put God first, do not give up, do not lose hope, and do not be afraid. Rather we can turn around to Jesus, get to confession, and recommit our lives to God. We are much happier and fulfilled in this life when we follow Jesus, put God first, and serve each other as sisters and brothers in Christ. In doing so we will inherit the Kingdom of God…that is Our Lord’s promise to us. Are we ready to make the decision to respond to His grace and change? Are we ready to put God first in our lives above family, above material possessions, above anything else…Jesus believes we are and can, He provides the grace necessary. The question is…Do you?
St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!