Gospel Reflection for 23rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – September 4th 2016
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.
All our big decisions affect others. Family decisions on borrowing for example have long-term effects and the decision of the coach can affect the final. Jesus uses two examples of how people’s decisions affect others.
DECISIONS AFFECT OTHERS
Kings going to war were a part of life. The king could endanger the lives of others, and the tower builder could build a structure that collapses on everyone. The cost was huge! Maybe he wasted his family’s money on the tower. Others were affected by his decisions.
The common good is strong or weak on decisions. How many political decisions affect us for the worse like questions on education – chaplaincy and guidance counsellors in schools – how many children needing help are affected by this?
SELF AND VESTED INTERESTS
We live in a world that is very relative. Self and vested interests become over important, in business, politics, and church organisations.
Like when a coach selects the team to get a backhander! Or tickets given out in a club to benefit a few people.
Putting Jesus at the centre is living life with his type of motivation.
Not looking like him, or a Jesus badge, but trying to do things out of love and service, and reaching out to others. Following Christ is not having lovely memories of childhood or even the gospel. It is putting his way of life into action today.
Lord, may I listen to your spirit in making my decisions, big and small.
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger