Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
In Matthew’s gospel from Sunday, October 27th, we are reminded that the greatest commandment is to love God as well as to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Relationship is being human…we are not made to be islands unto ourselves.
Christianity requires a personal, conscious decision to be for/with God in our lives which is celebrated in baptism. But, it is also recognition of our relationship with all believers in Jesus…we ARE a community of believers… called by God, individually and as a community to make God’s presence real here on earth in our day to day lives.
In today’s first reading Paul and Timothy encourage the community of Philippi to continue doing the work of God. However, they are to remember that "It is God at work in you that creates your desire to do God’s will."
We are not alone…(again, relationship)…God is with us, working in us so that our desire to do God’s will continues to be alive. We will ‘shine as lights in the world as we hold on to the word of life…’.
Also in today’s psalm, we pray, "God is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear?" God is with us! We are not alone.
It seems that the theme of relationship/community is very definitely an earmark of Christianity - right?
So then…how does one reconcile the words of Jesus in Luke’s gospel today?: "If any of you come to me without turning your back on your mother and your father, your loved ones, your sisters and brothers indeed on your very self, you can’t be my follower. Anyone who doesn’t take up the cross and follow me can’t be my disciple."
What is this cost of discipleship that seems to be implied in Jesus’ words? Is Jesus calling us to be workaholics for God? To discard those with whom we are in relationship, to throw ourselves so totally into what we think God’s work of ministry on earth is that we renounce our relationships with others and lose ourselves in God’s work?
The early Christians gave all that they had to the common good and lived as community. All that they possessed and their gifts and talents were shared with the greater community - those who belonged to their community and those to whom the community ministered.
In this respect, the call to follow Jesus is to realize that who and what I am - my gifts, talents, my family, my relationships, my possessions are because of God - which I recognize that I am because of God. So, in following Jesus, I do not cling to these gifts, but rather make them available to others.
This interpretation is not the easier road...it invites me to remember that I do not possess these things because of what I DO, but what God has done for me. So, I see all that I am in relation to the whole of God’s creation.
Perhaps Luke’s gospel is a reminder that to follow Christ is to turn one’s back on selfishness...possessiveness... and open oneself to greater ways of being in relationship to others, to self, to our God and to all that God has created. So the emphasis is not on what one ‘turns one’s back (possessiveness), but rather on what one opens oneself to...to be with/for others - to God, others and the self we are called to be.
Now, that really IS a call (cost?) of discipleship!
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