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The good news for the day September 4

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (129)

While a significant public was traveling with Jesus, He faced them once and said: “If anybody comes to me without distancing yourself from a father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even one’s own life, that person cannot be my disciple. People who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Any of you wanting to construct a tower—don’t you first sit down and figure the cost to see if there is enough to finish it? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding yourself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at such a person—and say, ‘This one started to build something, but did not have the means to finish it.’ Or what country deciding to wage a war would not first sit down and decide whether—with ten thousand troops—it can successfully oppose another country invading with twenty thousand? On that basis, while the enemy is still far away, that country will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. That is the way it is—any of you who does not renounce all possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14)

These incoherent ideas do add up to a pattern, a point. It is not “Be yourself,” and ‘’know yourself” (The Greek axiom). It is beyond those directions, those guidelines for life—however useful and valuable they are.

Discipleship—following, imitating, being like Jesus—requires a detachment from yourself—to see the world as it is—apart from you—out there. It is not all about you. Like it or not, that view—yourself at the center—often guides what we do. You may not believe it. You may think yourself generous (and you are!), self-sacrificing even (and you are!)

But the point is somehow to forget yourself entirely. To dispossess yourself of your Self. To see, hear, smell and know the world in all its contradictions, discomforts, and messiness out there. You change it, of course, by everything you do—but before that, you are called to accept it as it comes to you. The Good News is: THAT is God’s world you are seeing!

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