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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Phil 2:12-18): My beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
Responsorial Psalm: 26
R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid?

One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Pt 4:14): Alleluia. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of God rests upon you. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 14:25-33): 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, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

«Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple»

Fr. Joan GUITERAS i Vilanova (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we can contemplate Jesus on his way towards Jerusalem. There, He will offer his life for the salvation of our world. “Great crowds were traveling with Jesus” (Lk 14:25): the disciples, walking with Jesus, who precedes them, must learn to become new men. This is the final purpose of the instructions the Lord, in his ascent to the “City of peace”, exposes and proposes to those following him.

Disciple means “follower”. To follow the steps of the Master, to be like Him, to think like Him, to live like Him... The disciple coexists with the Master and accompanies him. The Lord teaches with facts and words. They have certainly seen Christ's attitude before the Absolute and the relative. They have heard him say quite often that God is the supreme value of our existence. They have admired the relation between Jesus and the celestial Father. They have seen the dignity and confidence, which Jesus displayed when praying to him. They have admired his radical poverty.

Today, the Lord speaks to us in clear-cut terms. Our Lord Jesus Christ must be loved by the true disciple with all his heart, well over all kinds of ties, even the closest ones: “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” (Lk 14:26-27). In the follower's life, He is always the first one. St. Augustine says: “Let us reply to our father and to our mother: ‘I love you in Christ, not instead of Christ’.” In following Jesus even our love for life must rank as a second priority. To follow Jesus, after all, entails embracing the Cross. Without the Cross there is no disciple.

The evangelic call exhorts to prudence, that is, the virtue dictating our adequate behavior. Who wants to build a house must first find out whether he can face the expense. The king who must fight, after figuring out his own forces, decides whether to go to war or negotiate peace. He who wants to be a disciple of the Lord must first give up all his possessions. His own denial will be his best bet!