Scripture: Lectionary 487. November 6, Romans 13:8-10. Psalm 112:1-2,4-5, 9. Luke 14:25-33:
We will soon be leaving the continuous reading in the liturgy of the word at the end of this week. Paul, now is turning to the theme of love and will be encouraging by name people who are known to him. He tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law. I believe he means the Torah which is God’s instruction to the Chosen People and God’s revelatory word to them. We do well to know as much about the Torah as is possible for it helps us to understand both the spirit of Paul’s writing and much of the message that Jesus has for us who came not to alter the law but to fulfill it. It is time for all Catholics to know that the entire Bible is divinely inspired and that there is no prohibition against reading any part of it. All is revelatory and is meant to mirror our own lives. We can learn much from it to help us understand the ups and downs in our lives.
Jesus directs the lessons about love as the fulfilling of the one thing necessary as he speaks to us about the cost of our discipleship. This means that the center of our love is God and the Son of God, Jesus. The Spirit is the love of God for the Son and the Son for the Father. Once we understand and live by this we will be able to interpret the most difficult sayings of Jesus such as we have in today’s Gospel. God comes first in our love, then parents, children, spouse and friends. Having God’s love in the center of our being is what makes it possible for us to live as Jesus wants us to live though the cost of discipleship is enormous in our relationships and yet fulfills the deepest cravings of our heart.
The difficult task of taking up our cross daily and leaving all to follow Jesus is made reasonable and desirable once we have love for God as our center of life and attention. Yes, it is a question of priorities. If we love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole soul as Deuteronomy bids us do, then we will be able to follow Jesus even though it means sufferings and trials. Above all, it will help us to love our neighbor as we should with God’s love and not just our own which often is quite selfish. All of our loves need to be seen in the relationship of love we have for God. This demands our response on a daily basis even to the point of carrying our cross. It is the cost of discipleship.
We all are familiar with the popular words, “ Let go! Let God!” Love is what makes it easy for us to let go of any relationship which would take us away from God; it is also what can help us find a way to keep our relationships with others in a proper manner. God’s love can and does work within us each day.
Jesus has some very strong demanding words to us today in Luke’s passage. His words of wisdom are followed by two examples that help us to understand how to love properly even prudently. By listening to his difficult words within the context of the two examples, we become prudent and wise disciples who are willing to follow the straight and narrow path of the kingdom within the deepest part of our being. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life of such love. Taking up the cross is understanding the total self giving of Jesus in his love for us; we are then able to choose the cost of discipleship through the gift of his love. Jesus voice is always saying to our heart, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Amen.