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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Renounce All

"Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Lk 14:33

The severity of Jesus' demand that we renounce all our possessions can be overwhelming, especially when we read it out of context. The best scholars of the bible always remind us that when we ask God for the strength to let go, to renounce everything for God, God gives us back what we need to live well and serve others. While God's challenge is daunting, it is also necessary. Belief demands that we learn to trust God with our entire lives despite the cost.

Those who accept the call to marriage, for instance, know that there is an immense amount of listening, responding and letting go, but the reward of a marriage well lived is the gift of a relationship that, as Paul reminds us, evokes Christ's love for the church. If either spouse becomes rigid and unbending, the marriage falters and fails to be the sign of God's love that the world needs. Likewise, those called to a communal life as vowed religious know the emptiness of holding onto ministries or positions of power when God says let go.

When trying to listen to the God who demands everything from us, it is also important to remember that most of us have more than we could ever use or need, and it is our fear and pride that causes us to worry about whether we have enough or how others see us. Rather than let go to simplify our lives, we acquire more and more ideas, stuff and baggage. Jesus might sound harsh, but his message is clear. Don't be afraid to give God everything. The reward is a Gospel freedom beyond anything we could imagine.

Today, recommit yourself to a Gospel life no matter the cost.

Which of your possessions or ideas are most difficult to renounce?

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