Daily Gospel Reflection Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
November 8, 2023
Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Lk 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, "If anyone 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. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus says that a disciple must carry his own cross and follow him. All of us sinners tend to see the universe turning around our ego, our needs, our projects, our plans, and our likes and dislikes. True conversion—the metanoia that Jesus talks about—is so much more than moral reform, though it includes that. It has to do with a complete shift in consciousness, a whole new way of looking at one’s life.
Jesus’ teaching must have been gut-wrenching to his first-century audience: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” His listeners knew what the cross meant: a death in utter agony, nakedness, and humiliation. They knew it in all of its awful power.
If God is self-forgetting love even to the point of death, then we must be such love. The cross, in short, must become the very structure of the Christian life. This is just what Jesus shows on his terrible cross. And this is just what we, his followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means not just being willing to suffer but being willing to suffer as he did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.