13th Sunday in OT A

Priority of Life

Joke: You win the war: My wife and I have a rule. We don't fight on Saturday nights. You know why? It is because I have to preach on Sunday morning. Now I don't want you to get the idea that we fight the other six nights of the week. Quite frankly, I gave her an unconditional surrender several years ago. Husbands, let me teach you a lesson that will save you a lot of grief. When it comes to your wife, if you lose the battle, you win the war (Rev. Curtis Fussell).

Just as a wise advice from a pastor to all the husbands to lose the battle with their wives is to win the war, the Lord Jesus, reported in today’s Gospel, invites us different if it’s not to say opposite saying, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” To love others more than Jesus is not worthy of loving him. In Saint Luke’s version, Jesus said a little harsher saying, “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” (Lk 14:26). How many of us does not love our parents, our brothers and sisters, and our own self? What does it mean to not love our loved ones more than to love the Lord Jesus Christ if it’s not that we are invited to make time for the Lord even though we might have many tasks to perform at home, at work, in school or whatever it is in life? We are also invited to take up our own cross and to follow after the Lord Jesus by offering of what might be considered the cross for us to carry in this walk of life. The questions are: How would we make time for the Lord in our busy life with so many attractions? How would we carry our own cross to follow after the Lord Jesus?

In today’s first reading, taken from the second book of Kings reported a story of Elisha the prophet who came to visit a house in Shunem. He influenced the wife of the household that she asked her husband to prepare a room for the prophet. By her hospitality or rather her faitfulness to the Lord that the prophet promised her that she will conceive and bear a son when her husband was advanced in age and they couldn’t have any child. Not losing their focus in the Lord through the prophet Elisha, the lady was granted a child at her advanced age as it was promised by the prophet Elisha. It seems that when we focus our attentions to have faith in the Lord, he will ease our anxiety, our distress and stress of this walk of life. Only with deep faith in the Lord that we would be able to make time for the Lord without being distracted from any attraction. How would we do that since we are not God nor angel?

We are reminded the words of Saint Paul to the Roman community reported in today’s second reading saying, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? So that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” This sense of belonging to Christ through our baptism, we are reminded to follow Christ as he invited us to take up our own cross, to leave everything else behind including our loved ones, to follow after him, reported in today’s Gospel. The questions are: Have you and I ever been distracted from anything in this walk of life? Between God and humanity, God and the Church, God and the country, God and all the good things that we have done for God, which one have we put our priority on? Have you ever had to make a decision to choose either God or the others that I just mentioned? If you have to choose, which would you choose as priority? God or other things? How would you choose if it’s not to learn to accept who you are first and foremost?

Story: Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an English Catholic writer, in one of his novels, a professor was given the name Lucifer sitting next to a monk with the given name Michael on a flight across England. When the plane flew across the London Cathedral, professor Lucifer sees a cross on the top of the Cathedral. He becomes angry and begins to talk bad about Christianity. The monk asks the professor to allow him to tell him a story. I know a person who hates the cross that wherever he goes, he always tries to destroy the cross that comes to his sight. In all the arts, magazines or anything that has a cross on it, he destroys it. Even a little cross that is hung on his wife’s neck, he takes it and throws it away. He says that cross is a symbol of suffering and death, opposite to what is joy and a happy life. One day during summer, on his patio enjoying his favorite cigar, he suddenly sees his patio turns into crosses. Everywhere he sees all crosses in front of him, behind him, to the right and to the left. He kicks and slams those crosses. Coming into his house, all he sees are crosses everywhere, everything made out of wood would turn into crosses. From his anger and frustration, he uses fire to destroy those crosses that they found him death the next day in a burning house. The conclusion that the author places on the lips of the monk is: “If you begin to destroy the cross, you will not be able to live on this planet.” With the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, it is a symbol of victory. It is a victory of love above hatred. It is a victory over suffering and death. It is a victory over our greed.

What is your priority in this walk of life? How would you pick up your own cross to follow after the Lord Jesus? Would you be able to identify your cross? What is it and how would you carry it? Has your burden and difficult life been a heavy cross for you to carry after the Lord Jesus? Or rather, it is a motivation and an invitation from the Lord for you to rise above in following the Lord Jesus Christ. The decision is yours.

 

Weekend Written Homilies 2020

Weekend Written Homilies 2020


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