A Discipleship of Sacrifice

Week of September 4, 2016

We all want to be disciples of Jesus.  We all want to be counted among His chosen ones.  Today the Gospel tells us that for this to happen we must make Jesus a priority.  To make Jesus a priority involves sacrifice.  One of the books I read while in the seminary was by Fr. Henry Nouwen.  It was entitled The Wounded Healer.  His premise was that Jesus was His best because He was wounded on the cross, broken for us.  From that place He could take on all of our sins.  It is a great read.  He went on to abstract that we are all wounded healers and from our brokenness we can be more present to our faith community.   Healing comes when we share our wounds.

I believe the same premise can be applied here.  We are called to be sacrificial disciples.  When we realize the journey involves sacrifice and it involves self-emptying, we become disciples of God’s truth.  Jesus was sacrificial on the cross.  His words in the garden spoke loudly of surrendering to the Father’s will.  We say this in the Our Father each week, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” This sacrifice leads us to how we are to follow in His footsteps.  We are called to sacrifice.  In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us we are to renounce our possessions, we are to pick up our cross, we are to denounce anything or any person who comes in front of us to distract us from the Lord.  Sacrificial discipleship is a process of dying to ourselves, dying to our wishes and making God’s will our prized possession.

At a time when we are all getting back to the Fall routines, a question that I often ask myself is this, “What possessions possess me?”  I think about it when I pack for a trip, to make the decision as to what goes on in my carry on luggage and what goes in the suitcase in the belly of the plane that can be replaced.  What do I have the hardest time letting go of or getting rid of?  In sacrificial discipleship only one thing matters and that is God allows Himself to possess all of you.

Rev. John J. Ouper