Sunday, September 4, 2016

September 4, 2016

Discipleship requires total commitment. A disciple must take up 

the crosses in life, and renounce all possessions, be willing to let 
everything else yield to the commitment to Jesus. It is hard work 
and seems impossible.

Yet, we have some examples: one is seen in the letter to the 
Christian convert, Philemon, urging him to take back his slave, 
who had run away and was in prison with Paul, and to receive 
him as if he were Paul himself. Also, we have an abhorrence for 
slavery, yet in our news recently was another update on the 200 
young girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram, as well as the 
restitution made by Georgetown Univ. to the descendants of the 
272 people sold into slavery in the mid 1800's.

Jesus gives us two parables to explain why things in this life need 
to besecondary to Jesus' call to discipleship. Both stories require 
an outlay of money, careful planning, and engaging others in 
order to be successful: building a tower, and waging a war. The 
focus of these parables is on willing discipleship. We may want to 
follow him, but do we have or are we willing to do what it takes 
to complete our mission? The main struggle in my spiritual life is 
trying to answer YES to that commitment. My spirit says yes, my 
human self struggles to keep on saying yes.

What the tower building and the battle mean for each of us is 
different, and often I think, it is something unexpected in our 
lives. At 50 years a priest, and 77 alive on earth I thought by this 
time I'd be more of a care-taker priest, say Mass visit the sick, 
get ready to meet my Lord, but certainly not still trying to build 
up a vital Catholic parish with diminished finances and fewer 
people coming each week.

​This weekend Mother Teresa is being held up as an example of 
what God can do through us individual weak human beings. Let 
us all reflect on the life of St. Teresa of Calcutta, her life spent 
on the edge of severe poverty, yet able to speak and witness to 
Pope, politicians or ordinary people about changing our outlook 
to be more Christ like. St. Paul himself is a prime example of 
someone whose life was turned around once he became a 
disciple of Jesus. His conversion occurred in Syria, on the way to 
Damascus to arrest and in-prison Christians. Ironic that Syria is 
still undergoing that battle.

Fr. Jim

Lets all of us look within. As we do so the Holy Spirit will guide us to see where and in what ways we might take up the cross of detaching ourselvesfrom things that possess us, and focus on the Joy of being His disciples.

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