23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
For most people we have a visceral reaction to certain foods. There are things for whatever reason we choose to just not eat, it might be the texture or the taste but there is something about it that for our own reasons we will just not put that in our mouth. Growing up there were two things that I wanted nothing to do with—tomatoes for their texture—they were just so juicy and full of these slimy seeds and the thing would just slide around your plate or off your burger—and then there was mayonnaise, to me it just tasted like axel grease, not that I ate that on a regular basis either, but I just thought it was so gross. I think I could say I hated these foods, at least that I what I told my parents every time they would try and get me to eat them. Whatever it is that grosses you out, whatever it is that you choose not to eat, it’s a decision, for many of us set in stone that we just know about ourselves when it comes to food.
This morning in our Gospel Jesus sets a dividing line, shall we say He offers up a plate full of things that might not sound all that appealing to our palate. He gives a heavy portion of carry thy cross, with a side of renounce all our possessions, and the main course is hating our family and our own lives and if we don’t eat up, well we cannot be his disciples—he states that pretty emphatically. We can hear that message and think well, he doesn’t really mean that, if I like a stubborn 2 year old just sit in my highchair and fight what He’s trying feed me for long enough, He’ll just give in and say, OK just do whatever you want and you’re fine…I mean come on it is the Year of Mercy, right? Or we could take it for how He means it, that if we really want to follow Him, it’s not just like signing up to volunteer at the fish fry, show up, put on an apron and then get to work, but it requires our willingness to make Him the center of our everything.
Our family, our loved ones, the things we own, we have to really ask ourselves do we live for them and make what we do primarily about living the most enjoyable life possible or do we live for Christ and make what we do primarily about seeking His will, which can be challenging, but is not doubt the true path to joy.
Jesus asks us to be detached from our mother, father, husband, wife, sisters, brothers not in some cold conniving way, but as THE necessarily condition to discipleship, to living this faith we profess not just as another hobby that fills our time with some good vibes, but as the one thing that keeps us coming back for more, because it’s the only Real Food out there.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who was canonized today a saint of the church, she who was called by Pope Francis an icon of mercy—is a witness to the reality of being transformed by a personal poverty that leads to a wealth of love. This is typically our biggest fear, that if I let go of my past life, if trade in what I have now, for what Jesus wants for me, its not going to be as good, but the truth is it only gets BETTER! When we like her choose to open our hearts to the will of God directing our actions in both simple and radical ways there is no end to the glorious impact God has in store for us and can happen through us. Disciples do that. Disciples can eat tomatoes covered in mayonnaise if it means saving souls and living in union with our Lord, because our time our senses are fleeting what matters is have we given our all to God. That heavenly banquet table has a seat reserved for us who choose to live not just for the tastes of this world but hunger and thirst for the life giving love that comes from a God who hides himself now in the humble bread and wine, but will reveal Himself in glory to those who give their all to be a disciple.