The Gospel today shows us a God who seeks us out, to bring us back to Himself, and His Love. However we often hear that the God of the Old Testament is Angry and seeks to destroy His people. This homily looks at both the Old Testament Reading where God seeks to destroy His people after the worship the Golden Calf, and at today's Gospel showing how radical and far reaching God's Love is, and shows it is the same God; who is forever unchanging and Merciful.
The Cost of Discipleship is Everything, but we receive so much more in return. (Lk 14:25-33) (23 OT)
The cost of being a disciple of Jesus is everything! It costs all we have, all we are. It is a Love relationship, which by definition means we give all to the other, yet together the two become better than either one. Jesus gave Himself totally to us, and invites us to give ourselves totally to Him. Take a Leap of Love!
You may have heard the old joke about being humble and proud of it? The world does not understand humility and sees it as weakness. But even by the world's standards, this homily will argue that humility is true greatness, recognizing that through us, God will do Great things! Finally, this homily will give some suggestions on how to grow in humility, and holiness.
Someone in the crowd asks Jesus "Will only a few be saved?" Jesus does not answer the question, therefore he is not saying that only a few will be saved. He of course wants all to be saved. However he does say that the gate is narrow, and many will try to enter and not. Why is that? What is his point? Well there is good news, because although the gate is narrow, God's heart is wide, and there is room for all if we surrender to his Mercy, forgiveness, and lay down our life in love for him and others.
Faith is invisible, but it's effect can be seen in our lives. When we live by faith, our lives look different than when we live only according to the world. Today's Gospel gives us a little test: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be. This little tool can help us examine if we are living by faith, or merely claiming to. Our faith shapes our private/personal lives, and our public life. These readings challenge us who claim to have faith, to live bold lives, sharing in the ministry of Jesus, the bringing about God's Kingdom.
Are you more like Martha or Mary? Which are we called to be? It is not either/or, but both/and. We are called to do for God's Kingdom, but not in slavery to obligation or what we think is good for God, but out of willingness to let go, and trust God. After all; if he created the world, and redeemed it, perhaps he can do the dishes (and cook the food, or put the food on our tables) too! We can recognize the burden, stress, anxiety, resentfulness, blaming others, as signs calling us to turn to Jesus, sit at his feet, and let go of all the tasks we're juggling. This will help us do, only the necessary, and to do it with His help.
A doctor of the law summarizes it in two commands; Love God and Love your Neighbor. But we can find many reasons why the one we don't love is not our neighbor. But Jesus takes away those reasons; for all humans are children of God, and if we too wish to be, we are brothers and sisters to one another. God calls us to join in suffering, compassion - to suffer with. God does not wish our suffering, it is a consequence of sin. However God uses our suffering to unite us to each other, and to himself.
If God sends us on a mission, he gives us what we need. Material necessities are the easiest for God to provide. He wants us to learn to trust him in material things, so that we will also depend on him for Spiritual Gifts, and our Mission to Proclaim the Gospel in our way; perhaps not from the pulpit of a church, but in conversations with our friends, family, co-workers and any situation God puts us.
Today's Gospel is challenging. It is the beginning of the Way section of Luke, where after people have heard Jesus preach and have seen the miracles they are called to respond to what they have seen and heard, by changing direction in life. The church today is in a Crisis. Many are leaving, and many good people who come seeking don't find. Why is that? Is it because Jesus did not rise from the dead? Is it because he really isn't God anymore? More so it is probably because most of us are not truly committed disciples of Jesus. This homily is a call to commit, to being a disciple, and to sharing in the Mission of Jesus, to make disciples.
Why do we Celebrate the Mass? Because Jesus said "Do this". What did Jesus mean by "Do this in remembrance of me?" This is to make present to us, the one saving act of Jesus. Like the Apostles in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves to feed 15,000 - 20,000 we often feel overwhelmed. We too are called to trust in Jesus, to offer our 5 loaves and 2 fish, all of our insufficient selves, and Jesus will multiply it and direct us how to use it to feed others.