Wednesday, November 08, 2006

31st Wednesday in Ordinary Time (II)
Action & Renunciation

Readings: Philippians 2:12-18; Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14; Luke 14:25-33

As is sometimes the case, our readings today present us with two themes that tug at each other in a healthy tension. On the one hand, renunciation: none of you can be my disciple, says Jesus, unless he gives up all his possessions. And on the other, action: work for your salvation in fear and trembling… do all that has to be done… That they are in tension with each other becomes clear when we consider that many of the different actions that people engage in each day have to do with the accumulation of possessions – whether material, intellectual, or even spiritual. And yet, our readings seem to be inviting us both to act and to renounce. Why and how does one go about doing this?

Both the first reading and the psalm offer us some indication. Whilst the former extols action, it also reminds us that it is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and action in you. And the psalmist extols the Lord as my light and my help, even as he encourages us to hope in him, hold firm and take heart. Hope in the Lord. Could it be then, that the renunciation that is the cost of discipleship is important not just for its own sake, but so that, even as we continue to work hard, we might be helped to cling on to nothing else but God alone? Could it be that what we are being invited to do is to work in such a way that our hearts continue to remain focused on the Lord, and to let the Lord be the motivating power behind our work?

How is the Lord helping us to do this today?

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