ORDINARY TIME: SUNDAY 23 [C] — Cost of Following Christ, Discerning Realism with God’s Wisdom–Faith Celebrated

LUKE 14, 25 – 33 

25  Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them.

26  ‘Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple.

27  No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.

28  ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it?

29  Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying,

30  “Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish.”

31  Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who was advancing against him with twenty thousand?

32  If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace.

33  So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple without giving up all that he owns.’

Art Source: onepassiononedevotion

Art Source: onepassiononedevotion

lectionary bible


Luke’s phrase “on the way” (14, 25) has vital implication for Jesus’ mission where the evangelist alerts us in 9, 51 that Jesus “resolutely turned his face towards Jerusalem.”  

In carrying out his mission in obedience to the Father, Jesus was born a Jew accepting our human condition completely in its joys and sufferings.  By loving other humans unto death he shows and discloses what it means to be truly human and fully human.  Following Jesus Christ as his disciples we too would be most truly human by accepting the realism of Jesus and his values.

The hard sayings and demanding conditions given in the Gospel (vv 26 – 27) — in the context of Jesus’ awareness of his imminent death in Jerusalem — calls for a radical response in discipleship.

The disciple choosing for a full or single-minded following of Jesus thereby severs his or her commitment to another person or possibility, that is, “hating” — taken to mean “loving less” (cf Genesis 29, 30; Malachi 1, 2 – 3; Luke 16, 13 //; Romans 9, 13 — what one holds dear, even one’s own life (v 26b).

When Luke’s gospel was in circulation Jesus’ death on the cross was vividly well known.  The cost of discipleship entails one knowing where the journey of following Christ was directed (cf v 27).   In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “whenever Christ calls us, it leads to death.”

Sources consulted

Reginald H Fuller and Daniel Westberg, Preaching the Lectionary: The Word of God for the Church Today, Rev Ed. Liturgical Press 1984.

The New Jerusalem Bible.  Doubleday & Company 1985.



Holy Wisdom, Lamp of Learning
Ruth Duck


The Summons – Will You Come and Follow Me
John L Bell & Graham Maule


Eye Has Not Seen
Marty Haugen

Servant Song
Richard Gillard


Now We Remain
David Haas


Take Up Your Cross
Charles W Everest

Seek the Lord
Roc O’Connor



The disciple lives by learning to die to oneself, to one’s craving to possess the persons or things we desire and love.  Humans tend to “love things to death” by our attempts to possess them.

In the two parables of building a tower (vv 28 – 30) and the king marching to war (vv 31 – 32) Jesus cautions us “to count the cost” of discipleship. As he has shown us by giving his life to gain the glorified life with the Father, so the way to be truly human is “to give up what one owns,” to renounce our possessing of people and things towards the fuller life promised us.

We are called to follow Jesus on the road of discipleship.

How has Christ’s example and God’s wisdom (1, P) in the communal worship with other baptised followers of Christ (2) to help me change in

  • what I consider the cost to be and

  • how I am to be disposed to face the cost?