• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Thursday, 01 September 2022 15:17

Real reality

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

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? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’ (Luke 14:25-33)

There is very little that is real in so-called ‘reality TV’. We know that, in fact, situations and circumstances are highly contrived and rather artificial. People are deliberately set up to fail, tensions are fuelled and contestants often exploited emotionally and physically.

Today’s Gospel contains a rather heavy dose of real reality about what is required in order to be a disciple of Jesus.

The words of Jesus have to be read against the background of the Kingdom life God is inviting us into and the central message of Jesus that we need to place God in the centre of our hearts.

The language about hating family members and even our own lives comes from a Semitic idiom which expresses preference. If you prefer one person or thing over another you are said to ‘love’ the first and ‘hate’ the second. The Gospel is not calling us to hate either our relatives or ourselves.

When we let the presence of God flood our hearts and minds all other aspects of our lives, including our relationships, find their proper place. Relationships become more genuine and less exploitive; possessions have less hold over us and we begin to share them more generously, our need for power and status fades.

To do this, however, is no easy thing. It requires many daily decisions, choosing to see with God’s eyes, to feel with God’s heart and to act according to God’s vision for human life: to choose love over hate, generosity over hoarding, to let go of power and status and be of real service to our sisters and brothers. That is what ‘carrying the cross’ is all about.

Jesus warns that this is a difficult and demanding way, and that a disciple needs to be clear-eyed and ready to take up the task.

Download to read or print our Celebrating At Home prayers, reading and reflection for this Sunday:

pdf Celebrating At Home 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [PDF] (5.82 MB)            
default Celebrating At Home 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [ePub] (4.90 MB)

Published in News