Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time, November 4
As Faithful Followers of Jesus Christ, May We Live Our Discipleship with Our Hearts, Loving Unconditionally and Selflessly As Christ Loves You and Me.
We read at the end of today’s Gospel, “…every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” – a very sobering thought unless we understand the context in which our Lord was speaking.
I am sure that we have each heard or read at one time or another – either on the evening news or in the newspaper, or maybe around the water cooler in the workplace or on the internet – stories about people who either succeed or fail in some new business venture.
Or maybe it is a story about some athlete who failed to perform up to some level of expectation. Or maybe it is a story about some relationship or marriage which failed due to one reason or another.
The explanation for someone’s misfortune in life is not always easy to discern, for there can be many different issues which cause one not to succeed. But, one common thread that we can oftentimes find in these sorts of stories is under-investment, whether it be financial or personal.
When someone attempts to start some new business venture, it is expected that the new entrepreneur will invest a substantial amount of his or her time along with financial resources in order to succeed. For an athlete to remain on the top of his or her “game”, he or she is expected to constantly practice and stay in shape in order that that person may be the best in one’s sport of choice.
And for any personal relationship to succeed, and for any marriage to survive the difficult times in life, both the husband and the wife must give 101 percent of themselves selflessly to the other, in order for their love to endure over the test of time.
In each of these examples, whether it be a new business venture, an athlete’s ability to perform, or the enduring love of a personal relationship, disaster can oftentimes follow when one has not truly invested his or her entire self into this new dream that one wishes to make their own.
In other words, for one to be successful in life, the person, almost always, must invest him or herself, in no small measure, into that which he or she wishes to obtain. A personal zeal, an eagerness, an enthusiasm must drive that person to the point of achieving that personal dream desired.
Our Lord, in today’s Gospel, is making this same point – that half-heartedness in following Jesus is doomed to fail. And that is why Jesus is raising this same issue with such fervor in speaking to His followers –
“If any one 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.” – words which speak figuratively of the total and uncompromising investment we must make in our relationship with God!
You cannot win battles with half an army; you cannot build a tower with half the materials or financial resources. In essence, what our Lord is telling us is that we cannot create a Christian way of life for ourselves – we cannot be Christ-like in our compassion and our heart-felt love for others, and we cannot help to build God’s Kingdom here on Earth – with only half-hearted measures!
Saint Paul, in our First Reading for today, is basically telling his readers the same thing, “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life…”
If Jesus were to turn and speak to you and me as He did to His followers in today’s Gospel, what would He say? Does He see within our hearts a true devotion to fulfilling God’s will in our daily lives, or would He recognize half-heartedness when we call ourselves Christian?
Do you and I walk through life grumbling and complaining, or do we open our hearts and accept with humility whatever our Lord may send our way?
You and I may never have the real life experience of walking side-by-side with Jesus on this side of the eternal, asking Him questions and listening to Him speak – as did the disciples who came to know and follow Him some two thousand years ago.
But He does speak to us, nevertheless, in so many other ways. He speaks to us through Sacred Scripture and through the teaching authority of the Church. And there are also those occasions when, in the peace and quiet of our own minds, He speaks to us through our conscience.
And if we are open to recognizing Christ in each other, He also reaches out to us through those whom we love, or maybe He speaks to us through an encounter with a complete stranger on the street, or someone suffering in a hospital or a lonely resident in a nursing home, maybe even in the homeless who are in our midst reaching out for a slice of bread or a cup of water.
If you and I say that we are faithful followers of Jesus Christ, if we profess that we are Christians vocally, do we live that discipleship with our hearts? Do we love unconditionally and selflessly as Christ loves you and me?
Our Lord is always asking us to open our hearts to His Love. And He also asks us for our help in reaching out to others, in becoming His disciples, carrying His message of Truth and Love to those whom He places on the path we travel through life.
And we do not need to be experts in theology to speak about love. Sometimes truly living the faith we profess is the best way of giving testimony!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that to be a disciple of Christ means one is to consent “…to live in the Truth, that is, in the simplicity of a life in conformity with the Lord’s example, abiding in His Truth” (§ 2470).
Let us pray together that the God who created both you and me, and who loves each of us beyond all manner of human description, will open our hearts – in order that we may allow God to work through us to bring His Love to each of our neighbors. For is this not what being Christian is truly all about?
For as Jesus said in the Upper Room on the evening of the Last Supper, just after He finished washing the feet of His Apostles, “If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Great crowds were traveling with [Jesus], and he turned and addressed them, ‘If any one 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.’” (Luke 14:25-26)
- “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
- “…every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
- “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16a)
- “Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
- “I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds. I will delight and rejoice in you; I will sing hymns to your name, Most High.” (Psalm 9:2-3)
- “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
- “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20a)
- “If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” (John 13:17)
Prayer for the Day
“O Risen and Eternal Lord,
the Way, the Truth and the Life,
make us Your faithful followers
in the spirit of Your Resurrection.
“Grant that we may be inwardly renewed;
dying to ourselves, being born to new life in the Spirit,
in order that You may live in us
and guide us in our everyday walk of faith.
“May the faith we live and profess serve as a sign
of the transforming power of Your Love.
We humbly pray, use us as Your instruments
for the renewal of hearts, minds and souls.
“Send Your Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us,
so that we may bring the Good News
of Your Life and Love to all Your children,
as we faithfully serve the needs of the Body of Christ.
“This we ask of you, Lord Jesus,Anonymous
You who live and reign with our Heavenly Father,
together with the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.”