Weekly Bible Reflection
Luke: Signs of the Kingdom
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Text: Luke 14. 25-33: "Count the Cost "
Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
Soldiers must be willing to die for their country when they join up. Have you or someone close to you served in the Armed Forces? How do you view the commitment that these men and women show to each other, especially in war zones?
A Window on the Text
There is a saying in central Europe that if you want to build a cathedral, you must start with all the corners: once you’ve laid the overall footprint it’s not easy to make it smaller.
These words of Jesus have much the same meaning to us as to those who first heard them. He is speaking to people with a strong sense of family, in a society under occupation by a foreign invader - the Romans. Life is hard, illness and poverty far more widespread than in our time, but perhaps everyone has a greater sense of belonging to each other. Jesus is calling his followers to count the cost – be aware of the full implications - of joining him on his mission.
Some say this passage is best interpreted in a less personal manner. In one case Jesus talks about a special type of his followers: most stayed with their families, but others left home and travelled with him. Alternatively he is talking about solidarity with the homeless and landless in the country. Perhaps it’s best to let these verses speak to us directly – the words and ideas are very clear today.
Jesus does not tell us that the cost of discipleship is too great. Nor does he imply that we should not follow him and become his disciples. Jesus says he wants men and women who have counted the cost, and who are committed to him regardless of that cost, and who will not stop partway and then turn back.
Responding as a community
- What support do people get from your community after they have left it to follow their vocations?
- What are the ‘crosses’ borne by people in your community?
- What are you 'building', and did you work out the total cost before you started?
- Pray for a genuine understanding about the cost of Jesus' calling.
- Pray for willingness to serve.
(Ignatius Loyola, former soldier who founded the Order of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century)
Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest: to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.