Gospel reading for Sunday 4th September, 2016, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
26 ‘Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple. 27 No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.
28 ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying, 30 “Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish.”’
Which this scripture might seem contradictory to what else Jesus taught – to love without condition one’s parents, friends, and even those who want to harm one – he is making a clear point here, not only about having to lift one’s own cross, ie. to go through hardship, but also about what is required, or rather not required, when it comes to being a disciple of Christ.
The trials of the earth are base and seemingly heavy. However, Christ advises that these gifts weight us down. We shouldn’t be obsessed with our material products, as they will, in the long run, get us nowhere. This scripture, too, advises against a pretence (for, surely, one cannot not hate one’s closest, by human nature that we have expectations, which will undoubtedly be broken and cause anguish in relationships) of happiness for a life of honesty, even if it that causes judgement our way.
“…would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it…“ We ought to give our all and be honest with our all. In this same way, it is not easy to give up what we love or habits that seem natural in the modern secular, but in God’s world as close to useless. In this way, we have sacrifices just as Jesus made the Ultimate Sacrifice. When we take up our individual crosses, we become closer to Christ and his suffering that was solely for to save our souls from sin. An honour that we can but repay via discipleship.