The Twenty – First Sunday in Ordinary Time
2019 – Cycle C
Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30
For what “child” is there whom their parent does not discipline?
Parents, I expect that disciplining your child may be the most difficult part of your vocation. Discipline, understood as teaching and correcting. Such disciplining is different than the discipline of practicing an instrument, learning technique and those awful scales! It is different from making ourselves regularly exercise. Or an author learning to self – edit. Or the necessary training and skills required for a job.
The disciplining of a son or daughter is more demanding because it is rooted in love. And love often has to say, “No!” which can cause great angst in the family or at times “Yes” which can also cause great angst in the family. Teaching good values, forming a behaviour, creating a habit that becomes second nature, offering a vison for your children to catch, can be like working with clay that is all too pliable.
There is the old adage parents supposedly say, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”. But if discipline, if having to say “yes” or “no” as is necessary, is done in love, I expect you are pained. You would not be fulfilling your vocation as parents if you did not discipline your children. Remember in celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage you were asked: Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church? Bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church is a tall order, is it not? To introduce another person to God and the Son, Jesus; to foster that relationship so your children will fall in love with Jesus and his sisters and brothers as their very self. Here is found the discipline of daily and family prayer. The habit of full and conscious participation in the Eucharist every Sunday. The forming of values such as compassion, forgiveness, the seeking of truth, and care for the poor against the resurgent values of hatred, prejudice and the burdening of the less fortunate. Parents, did you really consider what you were undertaking? Do any of us in our lives and vocations?
Like forming children, disciples grow, they are not born.
Faith, our relationship with Jesus, also requires discipline, correction, knowledge and training. Do we ever reflect on what it means to be a Christian? When we renew our Baptismal Promises, what are we undertaking?
Christian Faith is not a matter of going with the flow, it is often counter to the culture. Christian Faith is not simply pursuing what is easy to live out for the cross looms in our midst. Christian Faith is not engaging in a comforting spiritual hobby, it is a permanent lifestyle. Christian Faith is something that has to be rooted into the innermost part of our being. It changes everything in our lives.
Remember how falling in love with your spouse changed everything.
Consider how falling in love with Jesus will change us!
A contemporary malady in relation to any discipline is that if we do not see immediate results, we what? We give up. How many of us have done that in our relationship with Jesus and the community of the Church?
- Entering regular personal prayer is not easy. It is a discipline.
- Caring for another person, a parent, child, grandparent, or neighbor is not easy to live out. It is a discipline.
- Accepting an illness, a chronic disease, or disability with courage and hope is difficult. It is a discipline.
- Participating fully and actively at the Sunday Eucharist: singing with gusto, listening, responding, praying, entering sacred silence and ministering is not a hobby. It is a discipline.
- Attentively listening to a person is not easy. It is a discipline.
- Forming a son or daughter is not easy. It is a discipline.
- Forgiving or asking forgiveness of another person is humbling and demanding. It is a discipline.
These and more are all disciplines from God our Father and Mother, forms of training and correction, until they become second nature and then they are compassion, forgiveness, praise, love of neighbor, and truth, embodied in us. Disciples grow, they are not born. Faith is caught, not taught.