Saturday, September 08, 2007
23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - C
Who can know God's counsel, or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter
weighs down them that has many concerns. And scarce do we guess the
things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever
knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy
spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made
PHILEMON 9-10, 12-17
I, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus, urge
you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my
imprisonment; I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I
should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me
on your behalf in my imprisonment for the gospel, but I did not want
to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not
be forced but voluntary. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for
a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave
but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even
more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a
partner, welcome him as you would me.
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, anyone of you
who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
In today's gospel reading, Jesus presents to us a very clear
challenge. If we are going to be his disciples then it is going to
come with a cost. In the first example that Jesus uses in the gospel,
he tells us that if we are going to build something, we have to
calculate the cost and make sure that we are able to do it. Otherwise,
we are going to be ridiculed if we start the project and cannot finish
it. Then, he uses another example about an army that is coming
against us and we have to calculate, again, whether we are going to be
able to withstand that enemy or whether we should try to make terms of
We need to really look seriously at this because this is precisely
what all too many Catholics are doing today. The enemy is Satan and
all of his minions. The one who will ridicule us for the rest of
eternity is Satan and there is only one reason why he is going to be
able to do that and it is because we did not live the life that we
professed to live as Catholics.
Many call themselves Catholic, but all too many Catholics are trying
to make peace terms with Satan because he is marching against them
with his army. It makes it look difficult to be a Catholic. It is a
lot easier to do what everyone else is doing. So, why not make peace
terms with the devil, because what he is offering is more fun than
what Jesus is offering? After all, look at what Jesus tells us the
cost is going to be: 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. And, unless you turn your
back on all of your possessions you cannot be His disciple.
These are some pretty difficult demands. We need to look seriously at
them. Most of us have gotten to the point where we read these passages
in scripture and we just sort of ignore them, but Jesus made it very
clear that this is the cost. What this means is that Jesus needs to be
the top priority in our lives, and the reason for that is because if
something else is the top priority, whether that is some person or
some thing, everything else is completely out of focus.
If God is not the top priority in our lives, we begin to shift our
priorities around in order to make sure that whatever we have chosen
to be our top priority, winds up being safe and attainable, whatever
it may be. On the other hand, if God is our top priority, then we are
going to do things God's way.
When we hear these words of Jesus, "Unless you hate your mother and
father, your husband and wife, your children, you cannot be my
disciple," we would think that he must be asking us to walk away from
them, but he is not. If Jesus has called you to marriage and given you
a spouse and children, he is not going to take them away from you. The
point that Jesus is making is a very simple one. If you put Jesus as
your top priority, then you will love your spouse and children the way
that you are supposed to, wholeheartedly. It has to happen in that
order. But if you put your children or your spouse before God, you
will soon find yourself treating them in a selfish way and that you
are not truly loving them.
We need to make the choice. We have embarked upon a journey, a journey
to eternity. We need to ask ourselves very seriously if we have
considered the cost, if we are going to be able to make the journey.
Just think of what it means to be a Catholic. It means to believe in
every single thing that the Church teaches, to embrace those teachings
and to live them, and that comes down to every facet of our lives.
In the society in which we live today, it means that we are seeking
holiness and striving for true union with Jesus Christ. If Jesus is
not the top priority in our lives, then we are not living truly
Christian lives. We need to be serious about what it means to be a
Catholic. If we are truly going to live this Christian life, it
requires heroic virtue. We should look at our lives and ask ourselves,
"How am I doing on ordinary virtue? What is my language like? What did
I do the last time someone cut me off as I drove my car? Did I do what
scripture says and bless them instead of cursing them?" You can pray
for those people rather than curse them.
But many of us have fallen prey to the fact that if we are going to
have a bunch of maniacs on the road, then we might as well be one, as
well. What good does it do? All that does is prove that you are as
stupid as they are. We are called to virtue. We are called to
holiness. We are called to be saints. That is what it means to live a
Catholic life, to reject the ways of the world, and to live for Jesus
Christ. Look seriously at what it means to be a Catholic. Calculate
the cost and ask yourself very seriously, "Am I willing to do this? Do
I want to take up the Cross and follow Jesus? Do I want to engage in
the battle against Satan?"
If we answer that we do not want to engage in the battle, then we have
already chosen hell. Therefore, the real questions is, "Where do I
want to go for eternity?" If we want to go to heaven, there is only
one way and that way is Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not the top
priority, and if we are not seriously living our faith, then we are
going to try to make peace terms with Satan.
Keep in mind, Satan always double-crosses the ones he seduces. There
is no such thing as peace terms with Satan because Satan knows no
peace. So if you are at peace with Satan, you are certainly not at
peace with Jesus Christ. And, if you are not at peace with Jesus
Christ, you cannot go to heaven.
My dear friends, this is the importance of this decision that we have
to make. We have to calculate the cost, look at what the goal is and
realize that there is only one way to get there. Then, we should ask
ourselves very seriously, "Am I willing to put everything else aside
to follow Jesus?" If we can say a very definite "yes", then we walking
the path, difficult though it may be, that leads to heaven.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Matet Rey
- Lance & Audrey Olona
- Milagros Reyes
- Jose Lim and Bobby Pilar
- Catalina Coz
- Matet Rey
- Tom Diokno
... for the personal intentions of:
- Bro. Nanding
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Lily Dee
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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