Reflection for September 4, 2022 — 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 6, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“If you do not renounce all possessions, you cannot be my disciple.”

What is the cost of discipleship? We believe that “all men are created equal” as stated in our Declaration of Independence. Looking at any two people, it is obvious that there are physical differences between people. No two people are exactly the same, even between identical twins; each has a unique soul created by God. However, each person is created equal in the eyes of God, who loves each of us completely. We then, should be able to see God, our Creator, in each of us and we should see that in Him, we all are created equally.

Those who believed in the equality of each human person were willing to give all that they had, as the cost of discipleship to the Truth, even giving their very lives. Many of these disciples did give their lives for the Truth of that equality from God.

However, Jesus starts today’s Gospel passage by telling the crowds that they cannot be His disciples unless they hate their father and mother. Those words sound very harsh, and they do not seem to fit Jesus’ mission of salvation. For our salvation, Jesus gave His life, and we are called to be united in Him, not divided among ourselves. There must be another meaning to His statement.

What did Jesus give for our salvation? He gave all of Himself, dying on a cross. Does He ask anything more of us than He was willing to give? NO! He asks His disciples to give themselves completely in service to Him and the flock He saved, just as He gave Himself completely for our salvation.

Completely giving ourselves to Christ as His disciple, is why He said that in order to follow Him, we must hate our father and mother. We must love and serve Christ first, above anyone else, including father or mother. Our fathers and mothers must also love Christ first, above anyone else, including us, their children. We must even love Christ more than ourselves, for He calls us to be one in Him, not one apart from Him!

When we love and serve Christ completely, with our whole being, then we can love and serve each other completely, because we share our love in Christ with each other. We must know what is truly important in our lives, and then we will know what to do. When we love and serve Jesus as His disciples, who loved us first and came “to serve, not to be served,” then we will be able to love and serve our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, and everyone we meet in the Body of Christ.

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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