September 6, 2016 - Renunciation

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...
In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:25-33

Casting off all possessions, all reputation, and all familial relationships doesn't seem like a recipe for spiritual progress.  In fact, it seems like a recipe for endless distraction from spiritual matters.  What Jesus is likely saying here is that the attraction of possessions, reputation, family, and even life itself pales in comparison to the attraction of discipleship. 

How can this be?  Seeking the divine doesn't offer practical benefits.  People of faith are not more healthy, wealthy or fortunate than secular people.  

But Paul promises, "the peace of God that transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).   According to the author of Revelations, "Love of life will not deter them from death" (12:11).