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2 Sep

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

No Matter the Cost

“Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” We know from other Gospel stories that not everyone answered the call of Jesus to be a disciple. Discipleship is costly! Although the word “possessions” suggests material things, we might also consider other kinds of possessions—the things that possess our thinking, our feeling, and our focus. What occupies space in our minds and in our hearts? What ideologies and ways of thinking about people living in poverty, immigrants and refugees, persons on death row, victims of domestic violence, transgender persons, law enforcement, elected officials, and the Catholic Church occupy space in our minds and in our hearts? Are some of them possessions or passions that need to be left behind in order to be a follower of Jesus?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship asks:

“Is there some part of your life which you are refusing to surrender at his behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason? If so, you must not be surprised that you have not received the Holy Spirit, that prayer is difficult, or that your request for faith remains unanswered.”

As a pastor, Bonhoeffer worked actively against the Nazis in the country he loved. In doing this, he followed a Christ he loved more than his country or his life. For this, he was executed. I wonder how many of us have the courage today to take this kind of stand, a stand that he held boldly: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act.”

For this courage, we work and we pray: Lord, you ask much! We also know that you do not abandon us to our own devices. Spirit of love, enflame our hearts for courage and bravery and strength. You ask us to be willing to follow you no matter the cost. Thank you for firing our hearts and leading us forward.

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