Wednesday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 14: 25-33
Lord God, I believe that you are
present here for this moment of prayer. Even if I have not really longed for this time together, I
know that you have been waiting for me. As an expression of my gratitude and love, I truly wish to
give myself totally to you during this meditation.
Lord, help me to
realize that holiness is worth the effort!
1. A Capital Campaign for
Our Lord remarks on the need to calculate the costs and estimate the amount of resources
needed in a building project. That sounds like a feasibility study, the first step of any capital
campaign. Whether a parish is trying to build a new hall, or a school is trying to put up a new
building, there's no way to avoid a great deal of work in order to make the endeavor successful. The
Lord is saying something similar about our spiritual lives. We have to know what it will take to
achieve the goal. His answer to this question? Much sacrifice. This can sound daunting. But just
like the thrill of cutting the ribbon when the building is all paid for and ready to be used, the
effort to grow in holiness will result in a magnificent eternity!
2. A Battle Plan's
answer is simple: Don't get beat! This second image of our Lord makes another important point about
discipleship. War is tough, and if getting beat is a likely prospect, you'd better find other
tactics to achieve the goal. So too with our discipleship. In our efforts to grow holy, some battles
will be won easily; others will need to be avoided completely. So let's not get beat by foolishly
overestimating our capacities. This happens especially when we don't avoid the occasions of sin,
thinking ourselves strong enough to handle them. At times, the best battle strategy is not to fight,
but to flee!
3. What Place for Our Relationships?
In all this reflection about plans and resources, the Lord
has some extremely radical words about our relationships. In the hyperbole of hating father and
mother a very important teaching emerges: As vital as these relationships are, they cannot take the
first place in our heart. That place belongs to the source of our entire existence, the one who
loves us with a tender and passionate love ó God himself. This is why the Cross is so important.
When we see how thoroughly Jesus embraces the will of God above everything and everyone, he gives us
a pattern to follow. But the divine irony is that by following Christ in the way of the cross, this
hatred actually results in a greater and more self-sacrificing love in those very relationships that
have to take a back seat to the Lord.
Conversation with Christ:
Oh Jesus, following you is not
You ask me to put everything in second place to you
and pick up my
cross every day.
I won't be able to do this without your grace.
I am weak and
frail, but I believe that you will
give me the strength I need.
I will take some time and think about my priorities to make sure that
God is always coming first.