September 8

Luke 14:31-33

“So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” vs. 33

Jesus regularly reminded his followers that discipleship was a costly undertaking and not something that could be taken lightly. Here he tells them that it will include the abandonment of all their possessions. Following his death and resurrection it seems those who became disciples were willing to do exactly that–the book of Acts tells us that they held all possessions in common. As time passed his words were taken to heart only by those who entered monasteries and convents–men and women who were willing to take a vow of poverty. In our time, while some still make such vows, most Christians simply ignore Jesus. They hang on tight to their possessions and are always looking for ways to get even more stuff. They’d much rather talk about God’s grace than any possible cost or sacrifice. What they fail to realize is that grace itself is costly–it’s a gift to be sure, but it comes with a price. It’s that paradox that lies at the heart of Christianity–as Jesus put it, “those who lose their life will find it.” St. Francis summed it up by saying “it is in dying that we are raised to eternal life.” Of course Jesus isn’t advocating homelessness–that would be foolish thinking indeed. But he is saying that a spiritual adventure can never begin without a pretty extensive estate sale–it’s what St. Francis did, and his action changed the world for good.

Thought for the Day: Is wealth a blessing or a curse?

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