Wednesday of the 31st Week of the Year

Luke 14:25-33

Sayings on Discipleship

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Jesus today spells out the cost of discipleship and also of finally entering heaven. Yesterday was a reminder that unless a soul is hundred percent ready to receive God’s embrace, he/she has to be purged and made ready first. In other words we cannot come before the presence of God if we are prepared only 99%. For God it is all or nothing. “…none of you may become my disciple if he doesn’t give up everything he has.”

I used to have a cute crucifix on my table. It was a pasalubong from Rome. For some years it was standing beside a penholder. One day some teenagers came for a visit, and one of them picked up the crucifix and declared, “Father, remembrance!” and she took it away. Not wanting to offend her, I just kept quiet but deep inside I was getting upset and was ready to hurl some poisonous words about stealing and presumption. When my crucifix was spirited away, I continued to be upset for two days more. After two days, I became aware that I have been attached to a small souvenir from Rome. And because of this attachment, I was in purgatory for two days. Ironically, the cause of my purgatory was a cross.

A bishop once said: “every morning I wake up one hour before everybody in the house wakes up. At this time I plan how today I can die to myself.”

Our role in life is to learn to die to ourselves so that we can love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. Could we do this? (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta once told this story.

A few weeks ago, two young people came to our house and gave quite a sum of money to feed the poor. In Calcutta, we cook for 9,000 people everyday. The two of them wished their money to be used to feed these hungry people. I then asked them, “Where did you get that much money?”

They answered, “two days ago, we were married. Before our wedding, we decided that we would not spend any money on special wedding clothes, nor would we have a wedding banquet. We wanted the money we spend on these things to go to the poor.”

For high caste Hindus to act like this was a scandal. Their friends and their relatives found it unthinkable that a couple from such outstanding families should get married without bridal gowns and a proper wedding feast.

So Mother Teresa asked them “Why did you give me all this money?” And they gave her this surprising answer, “We love one another so much that we wanted to make a special sacrifice for each other at the very start of our married life.”

Jesus confronts us today with the real demands of “accompanying” him on his journey, of being his disciples. Discipleship demands deliberate and total commitment. We must know what we are getting into, what sources of confidence or what comfort zones would be asked of us to give up to be able to follow Jesus. Hopefully, our letting go would be like the letting go of the couple in our story – a letting go out of love and for love. (Sr. Arlene Lobitana, SSpS Bible Diary 2006)

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“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother…he cannot be my disciple.” Is Jesus negating the 4th commandment: “Honor your father and your mother”? is he contradicting his own commandment to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”? not at all!! It is good to note that Luke, wanting to stress a more radical response to the invitation of Christ, expresses this point in a typical Semitic fashion. Thus, the statement, “whoever wants to follow Christ must hate father and mother” is just another way of saying one must love Christ more than one’s father and mother. To be a Christian, to be a disciple means to put Christ in the center of our lives. (Fr. Manny de Leon, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Referring to this gospel, a friend of mine remarked: “Life is already hard and Jesus is making it harder.” So I replied: “Yes, life is hard. But I don’t think that Jesus is making it harder.” Or is he?

As Jesus’ fame spread, His followers became also known and popular. But Christian discipleship is not simply about popularity but it is about genuine service and dedication grounded on one’s unconditional love for God and for others regardless of the consequences that lie ahead. The term ‘discipleship’ here does not only refer to priests, nuns, religious people or missionaries. It refers to every Christian.

On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus warned the crowds to be fully aware of what they are actually following or doing, and to do it freely in a way that nobody even members of their families could hinder it. So the word ‘hate’ does not simply mean a human feeling; it means primarily a liberation and decision. And I believe that it is only in this way that discipleship would really become a communion with Jesus. We share His joys and pains and he shares in ours too. This is the beauty of Christian discipleship. We are not alone, Jesus is with us and walks with us. Yes, life is hard. But Jesus is not making it harder; He is showing us, His followers, that life is worth living. (Frt. Cirilo Boloron, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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“Contortionists in the Making” is a documentary film on Chinese children being trained to be become contortionists. At an early age, these children undergo rigid training under the supervision of professional instructors. One particular scene of the film which really caught my attention was when a young boy could not contain his tears when his instructor started to bend his right leg until it almost touch his head (his back flat on the floor). The boy was crying in pain. This painful exercise was part of the daily routine these young children had to pass through. They had to be prepared to bring about favourable results.

Jesus sets three conditions for those who want to follow Him. They are: 1) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and his mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciples,” 2) “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple,” 3)”…anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciples.”

The first condition means that we should never love our relatives or ourselves more than Him. Jesus warns us: Do not allow ties with other people prevent you from discipleship. On the second condition, the word “cross” takes on a new meaning. It means ‘suffering.’ To “bear one’s own cross” means to be willing to suffer for the sake of Jesus. When Jesus says that we cannot be His disciples unless we give up our possessions, the third condition, He is not preaching against wealth by itself but against allowing the accumulation and possession of things to come between us and God.

As the children in their tender age are prepared through hard and difficult ways to become successful contortionists, Jesus wants in the strongest possible terms, to prepare His disciples for the reality that being a disciple of Jesus will be difficult and that they will be tempted to give up. Discipleship is not something to be improvised but something to be prepared for, like king preparing for war or the man wanting to build a tower. (Fr. Noel Rebancos, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Daily Reflections from a Student’s Point of View

Romans 13:8-10
Psalm 112:1b-2, 4-5, 9
Luke 14:25-33

Romans 13: 8-10 “…’You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.’…”

Psalm 112: 1b-2, 4-5, 9; “…He dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just…”

Luke 14: 25-33 “…’Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.’…”

St. Didacus (1400-1463) became a Secular Franciscan. He spent time as a hermit, as a missionary to the Canary Islands. While assigned to Rome to attend a canonization of St. Bernardine, he stayed on for three extra months to nurse several friars who fell sick. He was also a contemplative, and while not considered particularly intelligent, he taught by his example which spoke volumes.

Today’s readings remind me of a small wisdom saying from my childhood that stuck with me. It went something like this: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Especially today, we appreciate when people get to the point. And that seems to be what Jesus was trying to do when he provided the summary found in Paul’s letter to the Romans. First He lists some of the “Commandments” and then says a good summary would be: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Treating others the way I want to be treated was an quick and easy litmus test for me.

The Psalm reading reminds us of the kind of reverence we should have for the Lord, using that “fear” word which really means reverence, not being afraid of the Lord. It also speaks high praise of the example an upright and just person is amongst us, saying they “dawn through the darkness, a light for the upright.” (Psalm 112:4)

Then in the Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus tries to impress upon the crowd a very serious point about being His disciple and what He expects when He calls us to follow Him. He uses 3 or 4 scenarios hoping that one will strike at our hearts and convict us. For me the first example that uses the language of hating father, mother, brother or sister is the hardest for me to hear. But what Jesus means is that if you are going to Follow Him and a family member tries to persuade you otherwise, or they themselves do something to keep you from following the Lord, you have to walk away from them and stand firm on your resolve. Sadly, there are families who have been torn apart, because of these kinds of pains. But, if you are to be an instrument of the Lord to help them understand your conviction of Faith, or even to bring them to your Faith, God will give you the words in essence the signal for what you are to do.

The other day I heard a call for more of us to think about evangelizing others about our Faith through our actions. There are large parts of the world, even in our own communities that have never heard of the teachings of Jesus Christ. People don’t feel imposed upon if they witness a person handling another person or situation in a Christ-like way. In this sense, we can all be evangelists for Christ just with the way we treat one another. It’s not that we will bring all people to the Faith, but Jesus wants everyone to hear or be a witness to the power of His Love. “… love your neighbor as yourself…”

These are all good teachings today and have given me a reason to rethink especially in the first reading about how I love my neighbor. Do I treat others the way I want to be treated? How does my family, my employer, my country treat others? How does it compare to the Christian ideal; is it the way I/we want to be treated?

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Jesus talks primarily about the way of following Him, something we often refer to as “discipleship.” However, we can also readily transpose the words of Jesus in today’s gospel as words for a meaningful life, whatever our life and calling maybe.

  • Word 1 – commitment. The important thing in life is not multiplicity, but priority and focus. There are many good things – family life with father and mother, family life with brothers and sisters, family life with wife and children. But one life choices always demand choosing which is number one. Notice how we are made: we are structured to embrace one at a time!
  • Word 2 – Perseverance. Glory is not in a “big bang” beginning: it is in finishing whatever it is we have to do. We may not be the first prize runner, but what matters is to finish the race.
  • Word 3 – Delight, not duty. To really be committed and to be a finisher, we need to have a motivation. The great motivation is not duty which makes us drag ourselves to the finish. The great and satisfying motivation is delight. The First Reading for Year II says: “In everything you do, act without grumbling or arguing,” (Phil 2:12-18). The First Reading for Year I in turn underlines love as the real fulfilment of the law (Rom 13:8-10) – Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006 pp. 319-320

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WORD Today (Rom 13:8-10; Lk 14:25-33): “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers, sisters and even his own life, he can’t be my disciple,” (v. 26). Didn’t He command us to love one another? In the hyperbole of “hating” our family, Christ teaches us that as vital as it is, family can’t take the first place in our heart. That is reserved for the one who loves us the most, God Himself who sent His Beloved Son to die for the rest of His family. In embracing the cross (God’s will above family and comfort. Christ showed us the pattern to follow. Strangely, in following His way of the cross, this “hatred” actually results in much greater self- sacrificing love for the family that is to take second place to the Lord. This is Divine Wisdom! (Fr. Iko Bajos, November 6, 2013

CATECHISM a Day (Lk 14:33): “Everyone of you who doesn’t renounce all his possessions can’t be my disciple.”

POVERTY OF HEART (CCC 2544)

Christ enjoins His disciples to prefer Him to everything and everyone and bids them renounce all for His sake and that of the Gospel. Shortly before His passion He gave them the example of the poor widow who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom (Fr. Iko Bajos, Nov 7, 2013).

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – LUKAS 14:25-33. Nganong angay man natong higugmaon ang Dios labaw sa tanan? Ang Dios maoy himoon natong numero uno sa atong kinabuhi tungod kay Siya man ang nagbuhat kanato ug sa tanan ning kalibotan. Kon wala ang Dios, wala kitang tanan. Kining Magbubuhat wala magtan-aw kanato nga mga butang hinimo lamang. Hinoon, Iya kitang giisip nga mga anak ug manununod sa Iyang ginghari-an. Sa atong pagpakasala, Iyang gipadala ang Iyang Anak nga si Hesus aron magluwas kanato gikan sa gahum sa kangitngit ug kamatayon. Busa, angay gayod nga ang Dios maoy atong hatagan sa pinakadakong gugma. Makighinabi kita Niya dili lamang kausa kondili sa daghang higayon kada adlaw pinaagi sa pag-ampo ug sa Balaang Kasulatan. Maningkamot usab kita sa pagpuyo subay sa Iyang kabubut-on ug panig-ingnan. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/11/wednesday-of-31st-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 14:25-33. UNSA MAY GIPASABOT NI HESUS SA IYANG PAG-INGON NGA ANG MOSUNOD KANIYA KINAHANGLANG ANDAM MAGSALIKWAY SA IYANG GUGMA SA PAMILYA UG SA KAUGALINGON? Labing siguro, wala kini magpasabot nga atong kontrahon ang atong pamilya o daoton ang atong kaugalingon aron mahimong kristiyano. Gigamit sa ebanghelyo ang maong panultihon aron itudlo nga ang tanang relasyon ug gugma kinahanglang ipahiluna sunod sa atong gugma sa Dios. Si Hesus mao ang tinuod ug walay makatupong nga bahandi. Siya ang angay natong unahon tungod kay anaa kaniya ang kinabuhing madagayaon, kalinaw nga malungtaron, ug kalipay nga walay makatupong. Sakto ang giingon sa usa ka magsusulat, “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/11/wednesday-of-31st-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Reflection for Wednesday November 5, Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 14:25-33 Reflection: What are you willing to do for the one you truly love? You’re willing to do everything for your beloved, even to the extent of embracing suffering/s.  and to leave everything behind so that you could truly tell your beloved how much you love him/her.

For example in marriage between a man and a woman. A man or a woman who truly love his/her spouse will stay in their sacred union until the end no matter the trials that they may encounter. They will also be willing to sacrifice even close friendship and family relations just to make their marriage work.

The same is true if we say that we love Jesus. We also would be willing to suffer or to carry our own cross so that we could prove to Jesus that we love Him. We also would be willing to cut friendship and family relationship that hinders our discipleship with Him.

We may ask, why do we need to suffer for our discipleship with Jesus? Why is there a need to carry our cross? Why not have a suffering free life with Jesus?

Because it’s only through our suffering for Jesus that we could have a glimpse of heaven while we are still alive in this world. And it’s only through the carrying of our cross that we could have an intimacy with Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/11/reflection-for-wednesday-november-5.html

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reflection for November 4, Wednesday; Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop: Luke 14:25-33

Reflection:

Why do we follow Jesus?

When Jesus noticed that great crowds were travelling with him, he knew that they were there because of the many miracles and healings that he does, he knew that when push comes to shove this crowd would eventually abandon him. Jesus knew it like seeing through crystal clear water!

So he addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26-27).”

Other Christian denominations project Jesus as a God who can immediately lighten our burdens the moment we accept Him as our Lord and savior, a cure all God so to speak! Many are immediately hypnotized by this promise so they leave the church and join the Christian denomination/sect.

However there would be instances wherein Jesus will not help us carry our burden; will not cure us of our sickness. It may even seem that Jesus is an absentee God, a God who doesn’t care. Yes, it’s not all the time that we would get what we want from Jesus. He cares nevertheless and He is with us even in the difficult episode/s of our life.

What Jesus is telling us in the Gospel is: if you want to really follow me be prepared to persevere, be prepared to carry your own cross and be prepared to sacrifice and leave your own comfort zone/s for my sake.

To follow Jesus amidst the trials and persecution is the best decision that we can ever do in our lives. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/11/reflection-for-november-4-wednesday.html

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EVERYTHING IN FAITH FOR LIFE ETERNAL – A spiritual person once said that it is a big sin for a Christian to die with so much riches unused or unspent. No doubt, it was a radical statement. Either one lives only with bare necessities or perfect generosity and charity. But it makes sense in the Christian context. In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about discipleship. If one is to follow the Lord, no other relations should take priority over our relationship with the Lord. And whatever happens, the disciple must embrace the Lord’s cross, through good times and bad.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said that in constructing a tower, planning is presupposed. If the tower cannot be completed because of certain problems, He said that it is better not to proceed with the construction. Half-done work would receive criticisms, not appreciation.

The strong warning of Jesus is meant for us to take discipleship seriously. Before one decides to follow Jesus, he must be willing to go all the way. As St. Paul says, we are like runners in a race with our eyes set on the prize eternal life, the Kingdom. We prepare hard for it. We discipline ourselves in order to win it. We do not stop until we finish the race and get the prize.

Christianity is 24/7. We are not Christians only on Sundays or whenever we are worshipping in church. Our life is our faith; our faith is our life. This is the life Jesus warned the Apostles of. Thus, if they are not certainabout following the Lord, they will encounter a lot of difficulties, which they did when Jesus suffered, died and was buried. How could they have entrusted their lives fully to someone who died? Was it a waste? Then Jesus appeared to them in His resurrected form and suddenly all that Jesus told them revealed their meaning, especially the cost of discipleship.

When Jesus asks us to leave everything and carry His cross, it is not for nothing or just anything. It is for the ultimate gift of eternal life. It is not easy and it is not cheap. But with Jesus already triumphing over suffering and death, we are assured. Challenges may come, but our faith is always stronger.Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you a Christian every minute of the day, or only for one hour each week?

Dearest Lord, help me to be mindful of my Christian identity and calling every minute of the day.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-11-05

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November 4, 2015

Wednesday of the 31st Week in the Ordinary Time

Rom 13: 8-10, Lk 14: 25-33

The Cost of Christian Discipleship

India has many god men and women who have millions of followers. Some of them are behind the bars, being accused of criminal activities. The fame of a god man or woman depends on the number of followers. Hence there is a tendency among these god man and women to increase the number of their followers using various tricks. The gullible people throng to them either being attracted by the so called miracles or to fulfil their desires like healing, getting employment, passing examination etc. In the Catholic Church also there are some charismatic preachers who claim to have the power for healing and attract hundreds of people to their charismatic centres. But Jesus never tried to attract people, but people were attracted by his magnetic personality.

At the time of Jesus people were attracted by the personality of Jesus, especially his compassion for the sick and the needy. Sometimes large crowds were following him and some of them expressed their desire to become his disciples. Jesus made very clear to them that becoming a disciple is not an easy task and he put harsh conditions. Jesus did not want a crowd of disciples who have not understood his mission. Today’s Gospel passage highlights the tough conditions for becoming his disciples. Today the followers of various religions are competing with each other to increase their numbers by hook or crook. Often material benefits are offered to embrace a particular religion. Against the backdrop of the cutthroat competition for increasing the number, Jesus’ message is very pertinent.

The purpose of calling disciples by Jesus was to become partners in his mission as well as to continue his mission.  Jesus mission was bringing about individual and social transformation in view of establishing God’s kingdom. Brining about change in the individuals and the societal structures is very challenging and it requires unreserved commitment. First of all the disciples themselves have to undergo transformation as envisaged in the Sermon on the Mount in order to become an agent of change in the society.

For Jesus mission was of paramount importance. That is why when he was teaching in the temple somebody reminded him that his mother and brothers had come to see him. Then he told them that whoever fulfils the will of God are his mother and brother. For the disciples of Jesus also the mission should be the top most priority. All other interests and concerns should be subjected to the mission Jesus and a disciple should be ready to give up everything for the sake of the mission of Jesus.

Therefore Jesus warned his disciples that they should assess whether they have the capacity and stamina to be his disciple before taking a decision. Once a decision is taken then he or should not turn back when confronted with difficulties and oppositions.

One of the conditions discipleship put forward by Jesus is carrying one’s own cross. Often cross is interpreted as accepting one’s suffering with equanimity, considering it as an opportunity to share in the suffering of Jesus. In fact, suffering in itself is an evil and that is why all efforts are being made to alleviate the sufferings of the people. Jesus healed many people and saved them from the agony of suffering. God, being a loving father and mother, does not want his children to suffer. Jesus also does not want his followers to suffer for his sake or to become partners in his suffering. But Jesus expects from his disciples courage and determination to follow his values. Sometimes following the values and principles of Jesus requires suffering or carrying the cross. There could be various occasions in the life of a disciple when he or she is tempted to compromise with the values of Jesus.

Sometimes telling truth or refusing to give bribe or refusing to give false witness may invite suffering. In such situations Jesus wants his disciples to undergo suffering rather than compromising with his values. Suffering undertaken for the sake of giving life to others is also meaningful.  Jesus suffered for the sake of others. We believe that he suffered for us human beings, to liberate us from our egoism and self centeredness and to show us the way of happiness.

Jesus was an inspiration for many to give up their comforts and even to accept difficulties, including death in order to serve the poor and the needy. Fr. Damian is an excellent example. When he opted to go to Moloka to take care of the lepers he knew that he was taking the risk of being affected by leprosy. After sixteen years’ caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, , Father Damien died of the disease. He has been described as a “Martyr of Charity” Sister Valsa John who had organized local indigenous people in Jharkhand state to demand compensation from Panem Coal Ltd, a mining company operating in the area was brutally murdered four years ago. Many years she worked for the Santal indigenous people in the state’s Dumka Diocese and fought against the exploitation of the mining company. She was killed after a mob brutally attacked her at night with axes, sticks and knives. She had known that the vested interests were targeting her; but she did not withdraw from fighting for the rights of the exploited tribals. Indeed she was carrying the cross for the liberation of the tribals; she was participating in the liberative mission of Jesus.

Social activists who fight for the rights of tribals, dalits, women and the farmers who are displaced without proper rehabilitation and compensation are carrying the cross. All those who raise their voice against injustice and have to suffer as a consequence are carrying the cross of Jesus.

Unfortunately, cross which is a symbol of courage and determination to commit oneself for continuing the liberative mission of Christ has become an object of worship. Today’s Gospel invites the followers of Jesus to commit themselves to the liberative mission of Jesus and become true disciples of Jesus. Fr. Jacob Peenickaparambil CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-11-4

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 31st Week of the Year

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