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Luke 14:25-33

The Word of God

Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, 'Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, "This fellow began to build and was not able to finish." Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Luke 14:25-33
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus jolts us into thinking about the freedom we need; he wants us to resist anything that causes us to settle, to nest, to preen or plump for comfort. I ask God to help me to grow in freedom. As I notice where I opt for security, am stuck or have begun to put down roots, I pray that I may want only what God wants for me.
    • Jesus wants us to know the scale of the task ahead of us; when it seems too much for us, what are we to do? To whom can we turn for help? I ask God to keep me in mind of my own need, that I may have the humility and trust always to seek help.
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    • The Gospel is much more than an ethical message about a particular, Christian, way of life. It is about Jesus, his own person and the Kingdom he came to proclaim. Here he shows how radical are his demands on those who choose to follow him: even when we remove the dramatic form of the words he uses, we are reminded of the first commandment, of loving God before all else. I ask for a heart of a real disciple of Jesus, loving him above all else.
    • Discernment is a word we are hearing more than ever before, and we can run the risk of getting used to it and lose its impact. Here Jesus is asking us to be wise and discerning in our choices - enthusiasm is not enough for it can easily fizzle away. Following Jesus is a demanding way of life, so we should think well before embarking on this road; otherwise we might face disillusionment. The key is freedom, interior freedom that understands that material possessions can be real obstacles on our way to follow Jesus. I ask for the grace of a discerning heart.
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    • There is a cost to discipleship. Jesus wants to be accompanied by friends not by complaining conscripts. He paints a stark picture, asking if we are ready to accept difficulty with him. If we are, we know that he will not leave us alone but will carry our burdens with us and show us what love and courage mean.
    • Large crowds were travelling with Jesus; perhaps that is why he spoke so strongly, to ensure that nobody was going along thoughtlessly or just carried along by the mood of others. Discipleship is personal. Jesus wants to speak to you in particular – not to people in general.
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    • This passage about the cost of discipleship presumes that following Christ is demanding? Do I find it demanding? In what ways? Is giving up ‘all your possessions’ realistic and if not what does the passage mean for me? Speak to the Lord about the points of difficulty in this passage.
    • In prayer it is just me and God; for a while all else is given up. I need nothing to pray except myself. This is how I came into the world and how I will go - naked of all I possess and own. This can be an experience of great freedom. Prayer is the moment of offering the self to God - the true and real self without the ‘possessions' which can sometimes block God's invitation and grace.
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    • Jesus here teaches about the cost of discipleship. That there is a cost is illustrated by the stories of the builder and the king. A true disciple does not simply drift unreflectively through life but is aware of the seriousness of the commitment.
    • Some people baulk at Jesus' use of the word "hate" (v.26). He is using a rhetorical device (deliberate exaggeration) to emphasise a point. In Matthew 10:37 he explains his meaning: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me". It is a matter of priorities.
    • What cross are you asked to bear as you follow Jesus?
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    • Carry the cross reminds us of Good Friday, and Jesus stumbling under the weight of his cross. For most of us, the cross is not inflicted from outside us, but part of our make-up: the body’s and mind’s infirmities, the addictions, temptations and recurrent desires that rob us of our freedom. Carrying my cross means not so much solving these problems, as learning to live with them, unsurprisable and humble
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    • My ‘possessions’ and comfort zones are challenged by my growing relationship with Jesus. What would help me to loosen my grasp on these false securities? Let me ask his help so that I may trust him totally.
    • In this worldwide recession many unfinished projects are scattered about. I reflect on the timeless message of the Gospel. Its foundations are in God, who does not change.
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    • In today’s gospel reading we are encouraged to take steps that will lead us on the path to our heavenly home – We are asked to turn from anything or anyone who could hamper our journey. Before all else our minds and hearts belong to the Lord. We must do all in our power to seek Him first and all else will fall into place.
    • Teach us to follow you faithfully O Lord. Prepare our way and help us put our feet on the path that leads to freedom.
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    • The strong contrast in Jesus’ words (hate father and mother) is Hebrew idiom for what we would call establishing priorities. We may have to make choices between the call of the Lord and the pull of family. Jesus is talking to the large crowds who were drawn to him; here as elsewhere he warns against an attraction that is too impulsive and emotional. What do you ask of me, Lord? Let me know the cost.
    • In prayer it is just me and God; for a while all else is given up. I need nothing to pray except myself. This is how I came into the world and how I will go - naked of all I possess and own. This can be an experience of great freedom. Prayer is the moment of offering the self to God - the true and real self without the ‘possessions' which can sometimes block God's invitation and grace.
    • How much am I able to let go? I ask God to help me to grow in freedom, to be ready to follow and to serve in new ways.
    • As I consider the freedom to which Jesus calls me, patterns and habits that limit me may come to mind. I bring them before God for the healing that I need.
    • Jesus tells us that discipleship costs. I think of how I sometimes resist the difficulties that the Gospel presents and ask for help.