Sunday, September 7, 2008  Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.

Homily, Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fr. Felix 

Last Sunday it was a question of what it took to get on the guest list of heavenly banquet. This Sunday it's what it takes to be on the Lord's Disciples list. No relationship, with any human being or with possessions, no love, care or concern should beat or surpass your love, care or concern for Our Lord. Not even the highest form of relationship, love, care and concern -- the familial relationship, love, care and concern. Your love, care and concern for 

The Lord should rank "supreme" and exceed and supercede any relationship on earth you can ever have. When the rubber meets the road, your love for Christ must dwarf that of relatives and things (possessions). "Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." That's what it takes to be on Christ's disciples' roster. Our Lord should be so supreme, so uppermost, so ultimate, that even your loved ones appear despised. Our love for our Lord should be Second to None, unsurpassed. Allegiance to Our Lord must be so total that possessions may!!

The price of discipleship is high. The standards of following Our Lord are very high.

As much as we are prudent and calculating in our day-to-day planning (e.g., mortgages, house payments, bills, prioritizing the loans, consolidating our loans), similarly, we should be very audacious in our spiritual prioritizations. We should put Our Lord and our number one priority. Meet his demands first and foremost. There should be no comparison whatsoever between our Love of Our Lord and that of our dearest and nearest of kin. Ours for the Lord must far exceed the most humanly possible love on earth.

He says, "You know how much you love your nearest of kin? Double, Triple, Quadruple, Quintuple, Sextuple, Septuple, that when it comes to me. Combine that. Make it unsurpassed. Make it unparalleled. In the hierarchy of our loved ones and things, your very own self included, Our Lord should have NO match. He should be superb.

Without the Lord at that top part, no single relationship can hang together. Without (the Lord at the Base) ... Without Christ as the Cap Stone, Foundation Stone, Comer Stone, no other stones (in this case no other relationship) can hang together on this Tower of Marriage, Tower of Child Rearing, Tower of Career pursuits. 

Before Onesimus was baptized in Christ by St. Paul, his relationship with Philemon was one of Slave-Master model. But once Christ was brought into the equation, then there was no more Slave or Free. Both Slaver and Master were now Brothers. One's relationship with Christ, kind of, dictates your relationship with others around you. If Christ is in the right place ill your heart, everybody fits in harmoniously. 

Once there a nucleus is set in place; all rest of the other parts fit together in such a way that they are life producing, and death eliminating.

St. Paul is a typical example. He was in the right relationship with Our Lord. He was already carrying his share of the Cross by his "old age" and being in prison on top of that. He was unselfish, self-disinterested in his decision-making regarding Onesimus. No power trips to take advantage of Onesimus' former slave status for his own interests, even if those interests were for the ministry. He says, "I surely could use his assistance. But I want to do the right thing. I don't want to cross you. Not without your permission. I cannot be in any relationship with Onesimus without your own consent. You are the man." Relationship with Our Lord is like the Mortar to hold two bricks together without which the building collapses.  If you can relate well with the Lord, you can certainly relate well with  everybody, yourself included.

If you are upright with the Lord, you will certainly be upright with everybody, yourself included. If you are genuine with the Lord, you will most certainly be square and fair with everybody, yourself included. The same goes for Onesimus himself. By getting baptized and accepting Jesus, he had to go back and reconcile with Philemon his former master for whatever reason he had to run away. He had to make straight and upright with Philemon first.

That's what taking one's cross means. It means facing your old self in its ugliness and making aments. No short cuts in discipleship.

APPLICATION:

So, Our Lord is inviting us to a very intimate relationship with him, the likes of which has never been seen. This invitation rules out any lukewarmness on the part of our discipleship. There cannot be hangers-on, distant followers, or secret admirers. No! it's got to be personal. Very close. One-on-One. Original. Direct. Unmediated. First hand. Do you have your family consecrated in the Lord?

Example of Our Lord:

Our Lord displays the same attitude by his genuine and candid stance with his followers. This shows that he expects a similar genuine discipleship. While he is going towards Jerusalem and crowds following him, although they thought he was on his way to an Empire. To follow Christ, they have to be ready for loyalty that would sacrifice the dearest things in life. They should be ready for a suffering which would be like the agony of a man upon a cross. Do not be daunted by these high demands of discipleship. Remember that you are not left to fulfill them alone. The one who invites you to this steep road will walk every step of the way in your moccasins, all the way to the end.

We measure people's commitment to a cause by the sacrifices they are prepared to make for it. We cannot hope to be genuine followers of Christ without making sacrifices.  Let us pray that we may become more committed Disciples of Christ. 

God, our source of life, you know our weakness. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand, and so walk more readily in your ways. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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