Homily for the twenty-third Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 14:25-33
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Now great multitudes accompanied Jesus; and he turned and said to them, «If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, «If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.» "
 
A great crowd follows Jesus on the road... The Savior draws to himself the multitude of men and women whom he came to redeem at the cost of his Blood, poured out on the Cross of Calvary: "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." (Jn. 12:32) That is, when Christ would be lifted up and nailed to the Cross, it is then that the Power of the Spirit of God would appear in order to lead to Jesus all men and women called to participate in the glory of the resurrection! Immediately after the death of the Savior, "when the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, «Truly this was the Son of God!»" (Mt. 27:54)
 
" «For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'» "
 
The Cross we must carry to follow Jesus, in order to go to Heaven, is not always the one we think. Far from it! Indeed, we imagine for ourselves a Cross that is not ours: either a Cross that is far too heavy for our strength, or a Cross that is very inferior to the one we should carry... These false ideas are always illusions of the devil: either he tries to discourage us by persuading us that we will never be able to carry a Cross that is too heavy for us, or he tries to get us to carry the lightest possible Cross by persuading us that, by doing so, we have already done enough... But in our hearts we suspect that neither of these is the way of the Lord.
 
The way of the Lord is found neither in one extreme nor in the other: it is located at a proper centerpoint! The example which Christ gives us expresses this clearly: he who wants to build a tower must calculate, and therefore consider, the magnitude of the expense required. He must know whether or not he has enough money. If he does not have enough, and yet begins to build, then he isn't acting prudently: he lacks the virtue of prudence, a virtue that is needed in order to balance "too much" and "not enough", and keep us at the proper center. Certainly, we must have confidence that Divine Providence can come to our aid, but this confidence must be also moderated by the virtue of prudence. We can grant an exception to this rule only if the Holy Spirit himself truly inspires us to do so.
 
" «Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.» "
 
Prudence can sometimes appear to be cowardice, or simply weakness, or shyness. This is not a bad thing: it is good for us to be humbled in the eyes of others. Is that not part of the Cross of the Lord? Thus the king about whom Jesus speaks is called to make peace if he cannot win the war: he will appear weak in the eyes of some people, but people with common sense will see that he has acted wisely. It is the same for every Christian who wants to follow Jesus: he must be willing to forgive those who offend him in order to maintain peace within the community of believers! "Our Father... forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
 
We are going to celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of Peace and Unity! Let us ask the Lord for the grace of the virtue of prudence so that it may pervade everything we do! May the Most Holy Virgin Mary, model of all the virtues, give us the grace of eternal salvation and glory without end!
 

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