To Give Up Everything For Christ

Sunday the 8th of September 2013

Luke 14: 25-33

‘None of you can be My disciple unless he gives up all his possessions’

Would following Jesus be more palatable if He had asked us to give up just some of our possessions? That might not be so unreasonable given the fact that we give up some possessions everyday in the pursuit of different desires. If we are working we give up some of our time and labour for a weekly wage. We engage in trade everyday in the local shop, giving up just some of our  money for groceries. But to give up all? Very few true desires in us could make us want to give up everything. Jesus is really swimming against the tide here given the fact that we are more inclined to accumulate possessions rather than part with them. What might possibly make someone seriously consider this?

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The Equality of the Kingdom

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 14:1. 7-14

Why do elite societies fascinate us? When I was at university, there was a semi-secret association of wealthy and influential students who would hold occasional dinner parties. To these dinner parties, they would invite a select group of worthy diners. For many, to find such an invitation in one’s postbox was a thrilling event. Why? Above all, I think, because it meant being chosen above others. These events were exclusive, and being invited meant that you stood above the mob.
Imagine one of these lucky invitees turning up to their fancy dinner party to find a crowd of beggars sitting at table, awaiting the arrival of their fellow guest. How their bubble would burst! They’re being lumped in with this lot?!

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Lord Help Me to Believe

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 13:22-30

Sometimes atheists try to describe Christians and Believers in God as a set of people who only believe because they seek comfort in the idea that there is life after death. This is a very one-sided and undeveloped idea of Christianity and Christians in general. Certainly, seeking comfort in God is a part of Christianity, but it is not limited to the life after death. When Jesus said; “come to Me all you who labour and I will give you rest”, He certainly never meant that He would with-hold His aid until we meet Him after death. This is shown by the life of prayer in the Church, and the many “ordinary” intentions we all pray for. Similarly, on the other hand the whole truth about our lives after death is not limited to an idea of comfortable bliss. The Church teaches that when we die we will come before the judgement seat of God and our eternal fates will be decided at that moment. The Church also teaches that nobody can presume to know that they will be saved or not.

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The Fire of Love

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Luke 12:49-53

A quick reading of this Sunday’s Gospel can lead to quite a bit of confusion. Jesus says to his disciples; “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already”. Lest there can be any doubt that this Gospel passage is easy to understand, Jesus also asks; “Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division”. Sometimes, one must look deeper into the Scriptural text to find its meaning. The first phrase cannot be interpreted literally, because Jesus did not bring literal fire to the earth. The saints who commented on this text interpret the “fire” as the fire of charity or of love. It is quite reasonable for Jesus to wish that the fire of charity was blazing in our hearts already.

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Treasure in Heaven

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12:32-48

Jesus tells us this Sunday; “Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. This raises the question, of what good is treasure on earth? If our treasure is here on earth our hearts will be here rather than on the things of heaven. Ultimately this is no good for us because heaven is our destination, our most important journey. However, does having treasure here on earth really do us any good or are we truly satisfied with it. If we have a lot of money, are we ever satisfied that we have enough? Those who are satisfied with their wealth are those who do not focus on material things. Can money buy love? Love is not limited by the material world and is not explained by it. What about possessions? How long does the latest fashion or gadget last before they lose their lustre. The fact that material things do not really satisfy us or don’t satisfy us for very long, tells us something about ourselves. This means that what truly satisfies us is not material.

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The Peace of Christ

We hear of the sending of the seventy-two disciples in this Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to the places that Jesus Himself would later visit. The instructions given by Jesus to the disciples are enlightening and worth meditating on. The seventy-two were to travel without haversack or purse, which meant that they had to rely totally upon the Lord’s providence and the generosity of others on their journey. Jesus even gave instructions to the disciples detailing the way that they were to greet people when they entered their house. They were simply to greet them with the blessing; “peace be with you”. The desire that others should have peace in their lives is one of the most wonderful gifts that Jesus Christ gives to those who believe in Him. Jesus wishes to give this peace to everyone even to those whom we might expect Him  to withhold it from.

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Being unafraid to follow Christ

The Gospel reading which the Church presents us with today is a very challenging one, which goes to the heart of our mission as followers of Christ. While the words of Jesus here may seem harsh and inhumane, they teach us a great deal about what it means to put God first in our lives. While Jesus is not asking those who follow him to abandon their loved ones, he does make the point that we are not to put anything in this life before God, even our family and friends. While it would be wonderful if all of those closest to us supported us in our faith, this is not always the case, and we very often encounter opposition from those whom we love. We need to pray that God will give us the courage to be able to be strong in standing up for what believe in, even when our stance for Christ and in defense of Gospel values might mean that we become unpopular and have to bear persecution from those we hold most dear.

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Who is Jesus in our lives?

Jesus is praying alone, but it happened that “the disciples were with him;” (Luke 9:18 RSV). Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is. At least two things seem striking in this opening passage. The first is that Jesus is praying alone, but that the disciples are with him so he is not that alone, and the second that Jesus asks them who the people say He is, and also asks us this question.

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Your Faith has Saved You

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 7:36 – 8:3

In this week’s Gospel, we come across a woman, rejected by the crowds, but loved by Our Lord. Jesus had being invited to the house of a Pharisee, and the Pharisees were a group who regarded themselves as being particularly important. No doubt, the Pharisee was delighted that such a large crowd had gathered to witness this memorable event. The last thing he expected was that the woman with the worst reputation in town would interrupt the party and create a scene. This was a potentially embarrassing situation, but the Pharisee comforts himself by thinking that, if Jesus really is a prophet, he will know who this woman is and force her to leave. Jesus of course, knows exactly who she is, but he does not reject her. Instead, he makes her the centre of attention.

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The Love of Jesus for All

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Luke 15:3-7

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus celebrates the love of Jesus for all men and women. It celebrates the love of the God-man, a redeeming love that took Christ to the Cross in order to free us from sin and to open up the gate to eternal life for us. From His side pierced by a spear flowed forth blood and water, symbolizing the sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism. In other words, the Church – the sacrament of salvation – was born from the Cross. As such, the Church and her Sacraments are intimately bound up with the redeeming death of Christ on the Cross. In the Church and in the Sacraments God’s love, which transcends the capacity of our limited understanding to grasp, is made present.

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