Weekly Missionary Reflection
23rd Sunday in ordinary time, 04 September 2022
The week of National Bible
Wis. 9:13-18; Ps. 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14,17; Phlm. 9b-10,12-17; Luk. 14:25-33
Last week’s reading was about the banquet, today it’s about the journey. From sitting with the religious readers, then Jesus walked with the great crowds (v. 25). He continued His journey to the cross. He had to make clear the purpose of this journey: to be His disciple (v. 26, 27, 33) means walking with Him to the cross. This is the first message: enthusiasm only is not enough. A big amount proves nothing. Non multa, sed multum: not many, but much. Jesus doesn’t want His followers to become losers sheltered in the crowds. He wants them to be fighters, battling and sacrificing for the sake of His purpose. He challenges them to move from mass religion to engaged and personal faith. Being the Lord’s disciple is not only about being registered as a member but a true decision to carry his own cross (v. 27). Authentic followers of Jesus will surely bear the burdens, difficulties, and humiliation for his faith. The Cross is not only the symbol of our religion but the characteristic of the daily life journey of the faithful as His disciple.
Second message is very stern: we have to “hate” our father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, and even our own life. Hyperbole is used to draw the listeners to the core of the message. Following Jesus should always be put as the top priority, even above the relationship with the family, relatives, and our own life. Jesus is not talking about emotional hatred of anger or resentment. It is about choice and priority in life. Family form one’s identity: he was born, given a name, growing up, married, buried, etc in and by the family. Family is one’s identity and life. So, life and identity are at stake: where does a Christian get His life and identity? Only one answer: from Jesus and His cross!
Third message is also radical: renouncing all our possessions. This is one of the favorite topics of Luke. Renouncing one’s possession is expressed by Luke in two ways, first: by devoting the belongings for the sake of the welfare of the church members and society (cf. Acts 2:44, 4:32). Second, by sharing with the poor (cf. Luke 18:22, 19:8; Acts 2:45, etc). This message stays relevant in the midst of our world, where money and wealth are the kings. You exist if you have. Possession determines our identity. The message of Jesus again touches our identity: the identity of His followers is not from possessing, but from giving and sharing.
Following “His way” (Acts 9:2) is not easy. His request and demands are radical. Therefore, each of us should be wise: “sit down” first (v. 28 and 31) to make a decision. Discernment before making a commitment is important in the faith journey. Contemplating so we are able to sort and distinguish the spirit. This contemplation will prevent us from making Lord’s Way our personal project, and our ministry as a show. If so, I am not carrying the cross, but becoming the cross and crucifying others. Enthusiasm and mere activism will not suffice. Mass discipleship without calculation will have the fatal result: we will be laughed (v. 30), and others will get the bad impact (v. 31)
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church this month:
For the purpose of Universal Churches: Death sentence abolishment
We pray that the death sentence against humans dignity could be officially abolished in all countries.
For the purpose of Indonesian Churches intention: Avoid the dependence on gadgets
We pray so that we can consciously avoid excessive dependence on gadgets.