Luke 14: 25-33

Large crowds were walking along with Jesus, when he turned and said:

You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you.  They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”

What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won’t he first sit down and decide if he can win? If he thinks he won’t be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off.

So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.

Gospel Reflection

The Gospel is much more than an ethical message about a particular, Christian, way of life. It is about Jesus, his own person and the Kingdom he came to proclaim. Here he shows how radical are his demands on those who choose to follow him: even when we remove the dramatic form of the words he uses, we are reminded of the first commandment, of loving God before all else. I ask for a heart of a real disciple of Jesus, loving him above all else.

Discernment is a word we are hearing more than ever before, and we can run the risk of getting used to it and lose its impact. Here Jesus is asking us to be wise and discerning in our choices – enthusiasm is not enough for it can easily fizzle away. Following Jesus is a demanding way of life, so we should think well before embarking on this road; otherwise we might face disillusionment. The key is freedom, interior freedom that understands that material possessions can be real obstacles on our way to follow Jesus. I ask for the grace of a discerning heart.