Monastic life may, to many people, seem like a difficult road. The reason for this is that it is difficult! The simplicity of the life, whilst we may frame it in rose-tint, is not easy. Nor is the daily routine, the living alongside other monks, nor the path of daily personal and group prayer.
Yet, it is a Gospel necessity that we give everything up for God: all our possessions in this world.
True, the monastic life is a pure manifestation of today’s Gospel passage. But it must be stressed that the monastic life is not for everyone. And it must also be stressed that, whilst we do renounce our worldly goods, monks in fact do have the use of many things in he world by association of their community spirit. In the ways of St Paul, we own everything together, it is pooled. We have the use of clothes and books, bed linen and food, electrical equipment and even vehicles. We own everything in common.
The purpose of today’s Gospel is to remind us that God must come first. He should be our first mover, our all in all, our cornerstone. We are not necessarily being challenged to become monks and nuns. Not all of us, anyway! Instead, Christ is inviting us to reset our love for him, to begin again, to see our love of temporal goods as nothing compared to the love of God. How we get on with this journey is why there are so many vocational choices for us. The list is virtually endless. But, at the heart of every one, is to put God first and live simply.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit
A reading from the Gospel according to Luke
Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them.
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.
Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “‘ Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish”.
Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.