Homily for the twenty-third Sunday of the Year - Year C - Lk. 14:25-33


by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 

" 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. 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.» "


Jesus is on the road, going from village to village to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God. For the Kingdom of God had come: Jesus, the Son of God, is here! The fullness of time is accomplished: God has sent his Son, born of a woman (cf. Gal. 4:4)! Wonder of wonders! Everyone who had been able to get close to the Lord had witnessed many miracles, and healings without number: truly, all are amazed! One might think one were already in the time of the Resurrection of bodies, that time when there is no more time, for it will be the end of time, that ultimate moment where the Glory of God will appear in all its splendor!


Fascinated by this triumph, the enthusiastic crowd follows Jesus on the road and wants to accompany him in his preaching: "Great multitudes accompanied him..." Truly, the faith of all these people is great! For, indeed, they believe in the Messiah who is there with them. They believe, but they do not yet see God in Jesus. And therein lies all the difference: if the Kingdom of God has come into our midst, this does not mean that we are already at the end of time, but only that this end is proclaimed... Before this end arrives, it is still necessary for us to undergo the trial of faith. Before the resurrected and glorious Christ appears to establish his definitive reign, we must still go through the Cross of Calvary and undergo trials, following Christ. "Great multitudes accompanied him", and followed him...


Must we desire the Cross of Christ? Can we desire it? The Christian is not a masochist: he does not desire the Cross for itself, he does not wish to suffer for the sake of suffering. No. But the Christian is someone who desires, at any cost, the Glory of God and his own happiness in the Heart of Christ Jesus! If it is necessary to go through the Cross, and it is indeed absolutely necessary, then the Christian, the true Christian, does not hesitate for an instant: in order to go to Jesus and to rest in his Love, the Christian renounces all things and carries his cross, following the Lord. The Heart of Jesus was opened on the Cross of Calvary in order that, by this same Cross, all those who truly want to might be able to eternally enjoy the happiness of the Love of God which is hidden at the bottom of this unique wound. "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.» "


Contrary to what one often hears, the end does not justify the means. But, on the other hand, the means must be proportionate to the end. That is, to attain a certain goal, we must use the means that will allow us to achieve it. Thus, if we want to attain, at any cost, the happiness of Heaven, we must make use of the necessary means. Now, it is through the Passion of Christ that one attains the Glory of his Resurrection. Therefore, if we truly want to share in the Glory of the Lord when he returns at the end of time, we must share in his Passion during our life on earth.


This is what Jesus wants to make us understand through the examples or parables he tells us today. Both the man who wants to build a tower and the man who wants to go to war must act with prudence, a prudence that must lead them to reflect and to envisage what might happen to them if they follow the route they are considering. He who wants to build a tower must foresee the need for sufficient money to complete his construction, and he who wants to go to war must foresee the need for enough men to defeat his enemy. The same must be true for the Christian who wants to go to Heaven and be with Christ, and who wants, by this very fact, to avoid hell: to do this, the Christian must prepare himself and be ready, in a boundless love of God, in holy hope, in firm faith, for the only thing he can foresee is precisely that the Lord will come for him at the very moment that was unforeseen...


" «So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.» "


Let us try not to desire anything immoderately. Let us try not to get attached to earthly goods. For the Lord is the sole desirable Good, the only one we should desire wholeheartedly. It is by truly desiring him, and him alone, that we will be his disciples. This is what we shall do, with the help of his grace, during today's Eucharist. Let us ask Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, to prepare our heart for the reception within us of the Lord Jesus! May the Kingdom of God come to earth through Mary, with Her, and for Her!



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