TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Also Read: Mass Readings for 04 September 2022 Mass Reading Reflection for 04 September 2022
Gospel: Luke 14: 25-33
It is the dream of any ‘want-to-be-leader’ to have a larger crowd following. Jesus is different. He is not encouraged by greater crowd attention; he is apparently a bit disturbed by it. He goes on to discourage them from following. Because he knew they were following him not for what he had to offer, but for other motives; motives that do not fit into his program. If Jesus is not the primary reason, then Jesus is not appreciative of your presence with him.
It costs to follow Jesus; it costs a lot. It could cost your relationships, your possessions, your dreams, and even your prestige. Set out to follow him if you are ready to sacrifice even your most intimate relationships. Jesus means it when He asks the follower to ‘hate’ his father, mother, wife, and children. It is about the priority, your first preference. If Jesus is your first and preferred choice, He is waiting to embrace you with his hands stretched out; his hands are stretched out in the fashion of a cross.
Make well-informed choices. Jesus goes on to tell two different parables highlighting two aspects of the following. First, assess yourself; know your strengths and weaknesses. Like a serious builder, you shall evaluate the resources at your disposal. Your money, time, place, workers, energy, motivation, etc. are to be well evaluated. In the case of houses and buildings, we hire professionals like architects and engineers, because we look forward to unbiased and professional help. Only a few take that professionalism into their lives. Lives are far more important than your houses and buildings. It rewards to be professional in spiritual life! Evaluate yourself with Jesus. Otherwise, be ready for the embarrassment.
Second, know your enemy! Spiritual life is as intense as a battle, as Jesus would put it in the second parable. There are many who want to conquer you. Know them in advance. The enemy could be jealousy, lust, hatred, or avarice within. The enemy could be the desire for popular approval, comforts, possessions, relationships, and achievements you want to realize. If you aren’t careful enough even your ‘well-wishers’, friends, and relatives could be your enemy.
The sheer number does not guarantee victory in battles. It is not impossible to defeat twenty thousand with ten thousand. It all depends on your strategy and on who is on your side. If you count yourself weak, the choice is yours; go for a compromise, or align yourself with a stronger king. The first seems to be the most popular choice, there are millions who made compromises with their internal and external enemies. But there is that small group, who aligned themselves with the strongest king, Jesus Christ, and won their respective battles.
Where do you belong to?