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All In!

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“If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” ~Luke 14:26

Did Jesus just say that? Has the Lord become an advocate of hate? Hate my wife and children? I think what Jesus is trying to teach us is the cost of true discipleship. A few chapters later in Luke’s gospel (18:18), a wealthy official asks Jesus what he must do to inherit the kingdom. Jesus tells him to sell what he owns and give to the poor, and then follow him. Perhaps what Jesus is saying is that true discipleship is difficult if one is significantly bound to the things of this world. If we are tied to earthly things we cannot fully take up the cross of discipleship. It’s not that Jesus wants us to abandon our families, but rather to make Him a priority in our life. He wants us to be “all-in” in this discipleship thing. Unlike the wealthy official, let us not sadly walk away from the Lord because of our love of the transitory things of the world. Let’s cling to the cross and walk the road to a more perfect discipleship. Let’s be ALL IN!

The Image of God

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I am sure you have seen the people who stand near the freeway ramps with various signs saying, “Homeless,” or “hungry,” or even, “I’m a vet.”

I know many times I see these people and wonder, “What’s their story?” Sadly, in my cynicism, I simply drive past, or to make things more uncomfortable for me, I have to stop at the light, and I do everything in my power not to make eye contact!

Often when I see them, I think of the story of the Good Samaritan. In the gospel, when Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He goes on to tell the story of the man who was robbed and left critically injured.

So, who is MY neighbor? Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor in theory should be easy, but it is often very difficult.

This gospel is perhaps a wake-up call for me to reflect on who is my neighbor.

  • Is it the elderly person struggling in the supermarket that I could help?
  • Is it the driver I let merge into my lane in traffic?
  • Is it the person walking down street who I nod or smile at when I pass?
  • Is it the person with the sign near the freeway?

Am I loving them as myself? Am I seeing them as the image of God in which they were created?

Some interesting and weighty questions.  Who’s YOUR neighbor?

A New Commandment

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Mandatum Novum—a new commandment.

This gospel passage, “I give you a new commandment, ” is one of my favorites.  The passage follows Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet on the night before Jesus died. Jesus, no doubt full of anguish, because he knew he was about to be betrayed and of his impending passion, gives them his last words of advice before taking up the cross. With all of the “stuff” our Lord has going on, he still has his mission to fulfill. Within moments, Judas will betray him. In a few short hours, Peter will deny him—not once, but three times! Yet, the Lord shows us yet another example of humility by washing feet.

We all have a mission to fulfill, and we all have “stuff” going on in our lives. The reading and re-reading of this passage gives me cause to think of how I am responding to everyday events in my life. Today is a good day for all of us to evaluate how the Lord’s new commandment is relevant in our lives.

Lord, grant us your humility, that even in our daily trials, to see the opportunities to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. Let your Mandatum Novum be our Novus Via Vitae—new way of life.

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