Sep 6, 2019

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycles of Faith
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

It’s said that upon reading the Gospels, Gandhi commented that he very much liked Jesus Christ. It was Christ’s followers he found troublesome.

One wonders who Gandhi had met and if these Christians had truly counted the cost of their faith. Following Jesus, really following Jesus, is much more challenging than we may think. He emphasizes this with strong language in this Sunday’s Gospel. He compares discipleship to the carrying of one’s own execution device — “his own cross” — and for the need even to “hate” what could disrupt one’s commitment. Some of this is standard hyperbole, exaggeration for effect common to the time period. Some of this should make us wonder how deep our discipleship goes.

“Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost?” Jesus imagines this construction project gone wrong. Someone may lay the foundation but not have enough resources to finish. We’ve received the firm foundation of the sacraments — our baptism, for one, along with weekly Mass attendance and regular confession. Yet how often do we find ourselves too distracted, exhausted, or uninterested to truly build our lives on our faith? We have all met such Christians. Some days, we may be those Christians ourselves. We become the incomplete tower that confuses and baffles the onlookers. “This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish!”

For some of us, our cross may feel heavier than we expected upon the first lift. Building a tower means laying stone upon stone. It’s a process. We don’t arrive at completion overnight. Grace is always sufficient to provide the resources, but we need to keep saying yes to the task. This week, consider your own discipleship. What is one area where you’ve become distracted or discouraged? How can that improve this week? Let God lay another brick on the tower.

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