NOVEMBER 6, 2019 – WEDNESDAY 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (13:8-10)
Brothers and sisters:
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill;
you shall not steal;
you shall not covet,
and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no evil to the neighbor;
hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (14:25-33)
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone 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.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
Hating one’s family member, a parent or a sibling, seems so harsh for us today. However, Jesus, in our Gospel today, actually means something deeper.
When our relationship with Jesus becomes more serious and deeper, Jesus also occupies more space in our life. It only means that Jesus has become the center of our relationship. Having this kind of relationship with Jesus, in which each of us is called, is also invited to make our relationship with God as the motivating factor of our other relationships.
This means that God asks us to make Him as our priority over our other priorities. And what is more beautiful here is God’s invitation for us to make our relationship with Him as the “life and soul” of our human relationships. It is from our relationship with God that, hopefully, we will become responsible and generous persons especially as we relate with others as a parent, sibling, a child, a friend or as a professional or whatever work you have or status.
This is what St Paul affirmed in his letter to the Romans,
“owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.”
Having that confidence in God that we are loved, assures us of our other relationships. Being loved then, enables us to love others. Thus, it is also very important to have that confidence with God because our human relationships may fail us sometimes, and our human love may show selfishness and cause us pain and hurts.
Consequently, Jesus invites us to carry the crosses present in the many relationships that we have. It would be very good that we acknowledge and embrace our crosses. It is when we are able to acknowledge and embrace our crosses that we will also be able to befriend our crosses. Befriending our crosses helps us to carry them with gladness and peace because if we are not able to befriend them, then, we will be carrying them with bitterness and anger.
These crosses could be our own emotional limitations, physical disabilities and health issues, family problems and conflicts, and other concerns that may drain and bring us down in our relationships. Yet, in carrying our crosses, whatever that may be, the Lord assures us that we will never be alone. We will not be carrying our crosses alone. The Lord promises us today that He too will be with us and will be carrying too our crosses.
This is the beauty of Christian discipleship because it gives us the confidence of being with God. God, after all, is ever faithful to us. Hence, when we are able to make God as our main priority and the center of our relationships, God transforms us and our relationships according to His wisdom. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR