September 3, 2016

23rd Sunday - C


You Cannot Be My Disciples If…

“Great crowds are traveling with Jesus”

Jesus by this time in Luke’s Gospel is on his way to Jerusalem.

It is not likely that everybody in the great crowds knows what following Jesus entails. 

Jesus turns around and gives them three warnings:  you “cannot be my disciple” if
1.    you do not hate your father, mother, wife, children, brother and sister, and even your own life.
2.    you do not carry your own cross and come after me
3.    you do not renounce all your possessions

In the first condition, the word “hate” does not mean the emotional feeling or attitude we connect with the verb to hate in contemporary English.  Moreover, most of us come to know God and God’s love through our parents and the loved ones God entrusts us with.  Jesus is by no means telling us to “hate” them.

These three conditions, taken together, remind us that following Jesus involves sufferings (the cross), and nothing and nobody should be number one in our lives.  God must have primacy.  That is the point.

Interestingly, Luke gives us these conditions of following Jesus immediately after telling the parable of the great feast (Luke 14: 15-24).  In this parable, Jesus speaks of the banquet of God’s kingdom.  There are people who decline the invitation to the great banquet because they choose a field or some oxen over the banquet.  Another person turns down the invitation because he has just gotten married.  To those people, the host said, “None of those who were invited will taste my dinner.”

How about me?  Do I let anybody or anything getting in the way of following Jesus?   After all, it is God who has given me everything, beginning with my life!  

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