Live the Gospel
This Week The Gospel for today challenges each of us to “calculate the cost” of following Jesus. Why are we Catholics? Is it merely a matter of culture and upbringing, or have we made an intentional decision to be His disciples? Jesus reminds us that one cannot follow Him half-heartedly – following Him requires one to renounce everything, and place your hope and trust in Him alone. It is only in Christ that we can find the peace and happiness we so desperately seek, but we must first let go of all those lesser goods that cannot satisfy (even if it hurts)! The journey to true joy passes by way of the cross. So let us renew our decision to follow Jesus today, no matter where He may lead us, knowing that what awaits us is worth infinitely more than anything we leave behind.
The Second Reading comes from a short letter by St. Paul to a man named Philemon. Philemon once had a slave named Onesimus who ran away, converted to Christianity, and later ministered to St. Paul in prison. St. Paul is now sending Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter, encouraging Philemon not only to forgive his runaway slave, but also to embrace him as a brother in Christ. We don’t know if Philemon was able to do what was asked of him in this letter – but we do know it would have been extraordinarily difficult, involving the kind of radical self-denial Jesus speaks about in today’s Gospel. This week, examine your own relationships. Find a way to show mercy and forgiveness to someone in your life who has wronged you in some way, to truly deny yourself for the sake of Christ!
Family Mealtime Question
What are some ways you can renounce your possessions as a disciple of Christ? (By the way: renounce in today’s Gospel literally means “to say farewell to” or “refuse to follow or obey”!)