Monday, September 9, 2013

Gospel text for Sunday 8 September 2013

Luke 14:25-33     Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus; and he turned and said to them, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions."
Reflection     If I want to stop dancing around the edges of the “large crowds traveling with Jesus” and actually come to him, get close to him and be his disciple, it is not going to be easy. Jesus does not mince words. I imagine if he was speaking today he might say, “If you want to come with me and live the way of peace in the midst of anything and everything but peace, it is like climbing a fourteen thousand foot mountain carrying a hundred pound backpack. Or, it is like trying to feed the 870 million people in the world who do not have enough to eat with one boatload of rice.” 
The way of picking up the cross is not the way of burying our heads in the sand. (Did you know the only animal that buries its head in the sand is humans... not ostriches, emus or pink flamingos)? The way of coming to Jesus asks us to do the impossible, to step up and step out into the hardest places where his peace is most needed because if not we, then who?
Think about it. Estimate the cost. Do you have what it takes to stand on Jesus’ shoulders? to swim against the tide? Are you prepared to be misrepresented? misunderstood? ridiculed? excluded? Jesus counsels. Consider the cost of coming to me. It is everything, You will have to “give up all of your possessions.”He is not talking about books or real estate. Jesus is talking about getting rid of anything that prevents us from cooperating with his mission for peace in the midst of anything but. 
One of my favotite philosophers, Jimi Hendrix, put it this way, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” The question before us is, are we satisfied dancing around the edges of the “large crowds traveling with Jesus” or  are we ready to step up and step out to advance Jesus’ mission for peace?

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