07 November. Wednesday of Week Thirty One
Ph 2:12ff. By your goodness, you give me cause to boast.
Lk 14:25ff. The self-renouncement asked of a disciple.
Love is the Fulfilment
Today’s gospel is rather grim, if we were to read it in isolation; but it is nicely balanced by St Paul’s more optimistic message to the Philippians. He points out how a local parish community can function in a loving way, if there’s a widespread spirit of service and goodwill. He advises them (and us) to act without grumbling or arguing; in an innocent and straightforward way, as genuine children of God. He then refers to time of his death, which he thinks is near, and feels sure that he will not have run the race in vain or worked to no purpose. And so, quite serenely, he invites them to “be glad too, and rejoice with me.”
Jesus’ words about turning one’s back on father and mother and family must be seen in light of his broad insistence on the two commandments of love, for God and for neighbour. Who is closer than our family? If there are times, hopefully rare, when we act in such a way that causes grief to others – such as when parents discipline their children, or a friend corrects another – even this must be done in love. Like Jesus, we too must regret any involuntarily suffering we may cause to another. For love is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s will.
First Reading: Philippians 2:12-18
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. I is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you – and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.