Daily Reflection
November 8th, 2000
Richard Hauser, S.J.
Theology Department
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Philippians 2:12-18
Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14
Luke 14:25-33

It is not easy to be a follower of Jesus.  It wasn't in Jesus' own day, and it isn't today.

Following Jesus for the original disciples meant breaking away from father, mother, wife, children, sisters, brothers  -- and all who chose to remain in the established Jewish synagogues -- and taking a daring leap to follow Jesus.  Jesus would give the Chosen People the definitive word from the Father on living for the Kingdom of God.  All their previous suppositions taken from their traditional Jewish cultural understanding must now be rethought in light of this new prophetic proclamation from God through Jesus. Today's Gospel clearly indicates that Jesus expected his followers to make this leap no matter what the cost.

Following Jesus today demands a similar break from our traditional American cultural understanding on how to live.  Our culture announces that the meaning of life is to focus on individual self-interest by maximizing material  prosperity and so enjoying all our culture's worldly benefits.  But Jesus demands we break away from this self-centered orientation and order our lives toward living for the Kingdom of God.  Living in the Kingdom means arranging our lives not for self-interest but for serving of our neighbor for the love of God.  And this break is equally costly.

The  Gospel asks us bluntly: Can we "walk the walk" of the true disciple of Jesus?  But the epistle and psalm provide our consolation:  "The Lord is our light and our salvation; "and "It is God who, in his good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement." And so we rest in trust resonating with Augustine's cry: "Ask what you will, but give what you ask!"

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