St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 8th September: Giving up all your possessions.
On Sunday, the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (and co-incidently The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary), the Good News from Luke’s Gospel recounts yet another challenging address from Jesus: “If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple.”
This is NOT the message of “love one another” that we hear in John’s Gospel so what has changed? In reality, it’s all “in the translation”. The word “hate” in this passge from Luke could be better interpreted by the phrase “If anyone prefers … (father, mother, wife, children etc.) … over Jesus, then he cannot be my disciple.” In other words, we must put God first.
The same applies at the end of the Gospel reading: “So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.” In effect, giving up everything to be able to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Only then can we truly become one of his disciples. Think of the sacrifices made by James and John, who were fisherman busy mending their nets when Jesus called them. They didn’t respond with: “Sorry Jesus, we can’t come now we are busy mending these fishing nets.” They left their nets (and their father Zebedee) and followed him. And there can be no better epitome of someone who gave up everything for God, than our Blessed Mother Mary, whose Birthday we celebrate today, who said “Yes” to God’s message to bear his son.
This Sunday we shall be challenged to consider our stewardship of God’s Kingdom. What do we need to give up; and what more can we give in time, talents and financially to be better disciples? Huang Qi, the subject of ACAT’s Prayer Case of the Month, has given considerably in the cause of Human Rights in China. We are not asked to give up our freedom; but there will be something the every one of us can do whether it is helping with church cleaning, serving at the altar, singing in the choir, or perhaps giving financially or reviewing how much you are currently contributing in the freewill offering.
And if you’ve a talent that isn’t necessarily something that can be used in pursuit of God’s Kingdom, then come and share it with us at Kenton’s Got Talent on Saturday 21st September.