The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Homily: Wednesday, 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Year A)

Readings: Phil 2:12-18; Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14; Luke 14.25-33

I love to plan. I especially love planning trips. Indeed, Diane and I are about to leave on a little vacation and I’m in the midst of planning all the details. But I invariably overlook something, usually some little thing that leads to some minor annoyance. But sometimes it’s not so little and leads to all sorts of unexpected problems, turning all my plans to dust.

It’s not unlike the tower builder and the king described by Jesus. When it comes to the things of this world, poor planning leads to problems and embarrassment. But they’re forgotten soon enough. Not so when it comes to our spiritual life.

A few months ago our little  dog and I were waiting for Diane outside the local Publix Supermarket when a young couple approached me and asked if I’d been saved. I simply replied: “I’m working on it. Read Philippians 2:12.”

For that’s where Paul clearly instructs us in today’s reading “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling” [Phil 2:12]. And rightly so, because the stakes couldn't be any higher. Yes, the message today is not to take our salvation for granted. Jesus tells us and His would-be disciples to calculate the cost if we want the promised reward.

And what’s that cost? Oh, just everything we have; for to be one of His disciples, we must be willing to renounce all for Him. And not just possessions; for placing any relationship above God is just another form of idolatry. Do whatever you have to do in order to follow me, He tells us. Discipleship is your highest priority…higher even than your family.

He asks us, too, to carry our own cross, willingly and cheerfully. We all have a cross, some heavier than others; but if we walk with Christ, none is heavier than we can bear.

God’s love compels us to choose without compromise. We either give our lives over to him completely or we keep them for ourselves.

And Paul tells us as well: “ are not our own. For you have been purchased at a price” [1 Cor 6:19-20].  In other words, we are God’s…and were bought with the price of Jesus’ precious blood…

…blood He shed on the cross to redeem us from slavery to sin…

...blood He shed to free us from death and instead give us life, eternal life.

This is what Jesus offers us: the gift of an abundant life beyond our imagining, an everlasting peace and happiness with God.

The choice is ours. Let the love of Christ compel each one of us to put God first in all we do

And remember, the Lord doesn't leave us alone when we choose to follow Him. He remains with us, every step of the way.

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