Saturday, July 1, 2017


Last Sunday, Jesus said to us, Be not afraid. Perhaps as a prelude to today's challenge.

Imagine Jesus knocking on your door. After the initial shock, of course you invite him in. He enters and sits down, and says to you, You have been following me for a long, long time. Why? What do you want?

What would you say? [Pause]

Perhaps you say, I want to be with you. I want to do your will. I want to be your disciple.

What if he said, If you want, just do as I do. Give your all.

Actually, in today's gospel, he says, You want to be my disciple? You want to be like me? If you want to be my disciple, renounce all your possessions…even your father, mother, husband, wife, children.

What do you do now?  Perhaps, at first blush, you might think:
1.    I've heard this before.  
2.    Can he really be serious?

He was not only serious. That's exactly what he did! We must remember that Jesus never forgot that God was with him. Makes a big difference. That's the key for us as well.

No doubt we believe it, but our memory is short. So radical discipleship seems hard; it is COSTLY! But it cannot be a partial commitment. Many of his first disciples walked away…literally. Some stayed, perhaps because it felt good to be around him, but may have walked away mentally. Yet not all walked away. Where are you?

Of course you're here, because you want to follow him wholeheartedly, and be evermore sure that God is also with you. But maybe there are some doubts or even concerns about being all-in. Not only about sacrificing your family, but also your possessions.

Though upon deeper reflection, this all-out commitment may not seem so crazy.

When a couple marries, or when one enters a religious vocation, do they not leave father and mother to begin anew…to make a full, not partial, commitment to each other or to the new spiritual life?

Yes, it’s a sacrifice in many ways, but one they want to make. Better yet, it’s an investment of a lifetime. Something to think about at any stage of life, especially as we get older.

Sometimes, it seems our commitment and investment is momentary and minimal. It’s like a message I saw on the sand at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, just a few feet from the tide of the ocean, Looking for work, here’s my phone number.

Creative, perhaps, but a little short-sighted and not much "sacrifice".

Perhaps, we can learn about this total love and commitment from the example of couples and from the wisdom of some holy mystics.

From couples - at what moment do lovers come into a most complete oneness…if not when they give their all for their beloved. Would you marry someone if they were not willing to give their all? Isn't that why we follow Jesus? 

And from the mystics - one holy monk was asked to sum up his life at his golden jubilee. He said, All we have will pass awaybe not attached to possessions.

Another mystic pondered:

To give him my clay to shape is one thing,
For this excites me;
But when my jewels and silk are at risk
Surely it is a time to seriously ask
Is all this God stuff – real?

Which begs the question, How real is God for us? That's the $64,000 question.

It may be helpful to remember that the renunciation that Jesus calls for is not simply about giving away what we have, but a call to transformation…a shared oneness with him. And true happiness.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky said it well in his classic, Crime and Punishment, He who can leave his door unlocked finds happiness.

And as St. Paul wrote to the faithful in Rome, Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death[a death to the values of this world]…so that we too might live a newness of life with him. That was our commitment at baptism.

Just as death has no power over him and us, neither should the values of this world.

Now that’s discipleship…being one with him! Same awareness, same mind-set, same values, same actions.

So if Jesus were sitting in your living room, asking, What do you want? Would you still say, I want to be your disciple? I want to be like you? Would you be willing to make a total commitment?

Baptists, I’m told, have a tradition of calling people down to the front of the assembly to make a commitment of faith…to be re-born in Christ.

If I invited you to come down to renew your total commitment, would you?

Something to think about today…this week.

1 comment:

  1. Very powerful and thought provoking, I' may be reading this closer to this Sunday's homily but the message is never to late to hear and ponder. Thank you Father.