Discipleship is why we do what we do

SEPTEMBER 8, 2019 TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lec. 129) 

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  1. Wisdom 9:13 18b      
  2. Philemon 9-10, 12-17
  3. Luke 14:25-33 Gospel related: CCC 1618, 2544

Each of us has a list of responsibilities that are important. We have work and families, organizations we support and people who depend on us. We try to fulfill all our duties properly. This is part of living a good, Christian life.

Undoubtedly there are times when we could give more, and maybe even sometimes when it would be best to give a little less. But we feel committed to doing what’s asked of us, and when we do these things, we feel we’ve done what we should – what God asks of us.

And yet, in today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that this is not enough. Simply fulfilling what is required as a parent, child, employee, committee chairperson or neighbor is not the essence of discipleship.

Listen again to what Jesus says: If any one comes to me without hating his fatherand 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.

The force of a text like this reframes the ordinary world we know. Jesus’ words should shake us up. So let’s let them. According to Jesus, what is discipleship?

Discipleship is not just one more hobby or extracurricular activity. Discipleship is why we do what we do, mindful of the costs it brings.

What Jesus commands is prioritizing him as the source of our life, and as its ultimate end. It is making our love for him the ordering principle of everything else we do. For without him, nothing else matters.