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Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me, cannot be My
Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90:3-6,12-17; Philemon 1:9-10,12-17; Luke 14:25-33

Sermon Week Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 14:27

In a moving scene from "The River," Jean Renoir's beautiful film of India, a crippled American soldier is outraged over the cross he has been given to bear. In his anguish, he asks a Hindu woman if there is anything he can do to make life worthwhile. She replies in a single word: "Consent!"

That is what Jesus is telling us in today's Gospel Lesson: "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple ... whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Lk. 14:27,33). If you want to be the beautiful person God made you to be, then consent to renounce your ego-centered, fear-driven, achievement-oriented self and follow Me, Jesus is telling us. If you want to make your life worthwhile, take up your cross, and follow me.

When we read the Gospel of Luke, we can understand why the French scholar, Ernst Renan, described it as "the most beautiful book in the world." It is beautiful not only because of Luke's literary style, which is outstanding but even more because of the story that is told. The Gospel of Luke is essentially a love story. As you move into it, you discover that you are the one who is loved. And God is the great Lover. Beginning with the nativity narratives, Luke is telling you that God is coming in this little Child to reveal His Love for you. Then as you move into the ministry of Jesus, the centerpiece is the story of the "Prodigal Son" which is all about how much the Father loves you and is waiting for you to come home. Or if you are already back, He is waiting for you to appreciate your life with Him. This same underlying theme runs right through to the crucifixion. As the familiar events of the passion story unfold, you understand that God is acting to show you how much He loves you. Even in the agony of His death, Jesus remembers the thief hanging next to Him. And there is a word of [...]

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