Last month Father O’Connell gave a great homily on the following Gospel passage:
Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
His reflections were in the form of wonderful examination of conscience for the seminarian:
Can you wear your clerics to your High School reunion?
Can you comfort a family who just lost their baby?
Can you get up in the middle of the night to bless the body of someone who just shot themselves in the head, and then go back to sleep?
Can you represent your bishop to the people who do not understand why their parish is closing?
Can you sit down with a poor family and accept the food they put in front of you?
Can you accept the criticism on the front steps of the Church of someone who didn’t like your homily?
Can you celebrate Mass in one Church – get in your car - drive for an hour and immediately celebrate Mass in another?
Can you hear a sinful man’s confession and then meet him in the sacristy as if nothing happened?
Can you be the “fill-in,” “no-one-showed-up” chaperone of the Junior High dance in the parish hall without snapping at the kids?
Can you be obedient to your bishop when he moves you even if you think it a mistake?
Can you pray your Breviary at night even when you are exhausted?
Can you meet the woman of your dreams and be only her priest?
If you are seeking to be a disciple, consider first the demands of discipleship; for if you cannot give up everything, you cannot be a disciple.