Wednesday, August 28, 2013

23rd Sunday in OT (C) - Open Hands

Luke 14:25-33
September 8, 2013

GOSPEL READING: On Discipleship

Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, “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. 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.


When a person hears of sacrifice, one immediately thinks of pain, letting go and gaining something better. It is a painful process because it entails letting go of something which we value much. However, the pain is overwhelmed by the sweet promise of gaining something better.

It is said that the human hands are designed to hold on to things rather than to let go of them. It is manifested on the strong grip capacity of our hands especially when valuable or important things are handed on to us. This is why the task of surrendering something has always caused agonizing feeling. The task hurts deeper when aspects closer to our hearts or most valuable to us are asked to be sacrificed.

In the religious life, we experience paradoxical moments of sacrifices. We are called to a life without personal properties, but we are given all the essential things that we need for the service of others. We live a life without exclusive relationships apart from God, but we work and live closely with people from different aspects of life. We are invited to live a life of reverential obedience to our superiors, but there is a process of reasoning out and dialogue in all discussions. Thus, religious life is a life of sacrifice, which entails painful trimming of personal comforts and connections so that one may be open to a wider horizon of service and greater depths in relationship with God and others.

In our Gospel, Jesus points out to us that living a life pleasing to God always demands sacrifices. One must be willing to depart from one’s families and friends. One must outgrow one’s limitations and fears so as to grow in capabilities and faith. None can fully hold on to God if that person is still clinging to the solicitudes of this world. Thus, Jesus invites us to a life of reflection before we make great sacrifices.

In our lives, we cannot simply make decisions out of whims. When we are placed in a situation that demands immediate actions and decisions, we oftentimes have a glimpse of the outcomes and the necessary sacrifices involved. There may be unforeseen elements, which aggravate the weight of the sacrifices asked from us, but we must not lose sight of the sweet end, which we desire.

God calls us to make sacrifices because He wanted us to make space for the best things He has in store for us. He puts us in a tight situation so that we would only hold on to the bare necessities and let go of the needless preoccupations that we have. Our sacrifices are not only for the sake of personal improvement, but also for the benefit of others who needs us.


BR. JUNEL C. PEDROSO, O.P. is a student-brother of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. He is studying Theology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila


Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Friars, Sacrifice, Letting go, Detachment, Religious Life, Surrender

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