23rd Sunday Sunday Gospel Reflection
The Cost of True Discipleship: Luke 14:25-33
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Today's Gospel reading about being Jesus' disciple is both beautiful and challenging. In it we hear that no one is worthy to be called Jesus' disciple unless he hates his mother/father/sister/brother/spouse for Jesus' sake, takes up his own cross to follow Jesus, and renounces his possessions. To modern readers, this probably doesn't sound like very good marketing on Jesus' part; all three of these requirements for following Jesus are quite challenging. We have to remember, however, that Jesus is speaking in a Jewish context. In Hebrew tradition, to hate one thing and love another simply meant to give preference to one over the other. Jesus is saying that to be his disciple one must put Jesus-that is, God-above even one's own family. If God is not in first place, then nothing is in its right place. In this Gospel reading we hear that great crowds are following Jesus. He has become very popular-everyone wants to be near him. But then Jesus turns to the crowds with the challenge to love him above all other loves. It can be easy for us to get very excited and enthusiastic about the Christian faith, but it's much harder to imitate Christ in the face of our day-to-day struggles. As you delve into this week's Scripture readings with the participants, the key question is: Are you walking in the footsteps of Christ?
(Reprinted with permission from Augustine Institute)
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