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(Part 31)


September 8, 2019
Today’s gospel: Luke 14:25-33

We are families on mission. Mission means doing what Jesus sends us to do. This entails discipleship. We belong to him and it is he who tells us what to do.

Right here is a challenge. We only have limited time, energy and resources. How much do we devote to our family and how much to mission? Indeed, for many, the reason for not doing mission is their family.

Jesus makes clear what is the priority. “If any one 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.” (v.26). Jesus does not only say following him is the priority over one’s own closest relatives, he tells us to hate these! But we are supposed to love them, are we not?

In Semitic usage, to hate is to love less. Jesus is talking here about priorities. It is often our love for parents, siblings and children that keep us from giving our all to Jesus. In which case, we cannot be his disciple. Because discipleship demands our all, holding nothing back.

The same is true about our possessions. Jesus says, “In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (v.33). Jesus knows the allure or even hold possessions have over us. Such was the case with the rich young man. But we cannot serve both God and mammon. So if we are to follow Jesus, possessions must have no hold over us, must not be able to hold us back.

There is more. Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (v.27). Discipleship entails sacrifice. It is the nature of the call to holiness and serving Christ. Yes we want to follow Jesus, but can we drink the cup? This is why discipleship is about self-denial and embrace of the cross, after which we can then follow Jesus.

What we deny ourselves are those things most precious and important to us. These are family, livelihood/possessions, and comfort/convenience. Now these will not necessarily be denied by Jesus to his disciples. In truth, when we follow Jesus, that is the best life ever. As families on mission, we are to love and care for our families, and we are to work at secular endeavors in order to provide necessary material resources for mission.

But what Jesus is saying is this: know what is your priority. If you get that right, everything else will fall into place.

So do you want to be a family on mission? Do you want to say, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”? Then know what the cost is. ”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?” (v.28). The cost has already been given by Jesus himself. It is everything that we are. It is all of our time, talent and treasure. It is not holding anything back, even our very life.

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