Sunday September 4

Gospel of Luke 14:25-33

All who do not renounce their possessions cannot be my disciples.

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any one comes to me without hating their father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and their own life too, they cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry their cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if they had enough to complete it?

Otherwise, if they laid the foundation and then found themselves unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of them and saying, “Here is a person who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand?

If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless they give up all their possessions.’

Reflection

In today’s Gospel Jesus is at pains to share the intensity of God’s love for us. I wonder what gives us life, what stirs our heart in todays Gospel?

Imagine we are in the crowd. He turns to us. He is talking to us. This is the man who has just cured friends, relatives, spoken a truth with radical courage, his words are making sense in a society that is oppressed. Some how his words are stirring up energy, good energy, his love is palpable and he is talking to us and pleading with us to not let anything get in the way of receiving his love. God’s love for the world surely needs love and peace right now. I imagine as he has been walking in the crowds he has been listening to children and parents conversations, some heated, arguing, I imagine their conversations. Where am I in the scene? what are my troubles with following my desires? I imagine Jesus listening to lives that are caught up with priorities that are keeping them from listening to love and responding at the heart level. Perhaps he is frustrated.I imagine Jesus hears me. Jesus is offering peace, everlasting life and love. But not the promise of an easy life. He is very clear about that -as he is walking to Jerusalem he is becoming even more sure of this knowing that this was now very dangerous territory. Despite this he is transparent and accountable. Transparent about the dangers and the cost of following him – Also, he is not exclusive, talking not just to the disciples and leadership but the crowds – (that’s all of us) as – Luke’s Gospel makes clear throughout.

Next in this Gospel Jesus explains that this transformation needs to be sustainable. As if he is saying ‘Think about your foundation, what you are building here as you follow me, be sensible about how you are going to make this happen. Consider the way forward. In other words, use your brain, you have been given the gift of intelligence’ and he gives examples that were probably very helpful for Luke’s initial readers of being sustainable -in building a house and strategy for a battle. But I think his point is that to follow him needs more than a superficial change that can lead to burn out.