23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
In today's Gospel, Jesus talks about being a disciple. A disciple is someone who follows Jesus. He says something about carrying the cross, and then he gives this parable:
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
A parable about building a tower, and having enough materials or money or energy to complete it. What could he mean? Has God asked us to build something? God invites each of us, in our own particular way, to help build the Kingdom of God. Could this be what Jesus is talking about?
What will the Kingdom be like when it is complete?
“See, the home of God is among people. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
Apparently, there is a lot of work to be done to build the Kingdom of God. The world is not perfect. God is not all in all things. The life and love of God does not overflow in every person and every creature. There is still sadness, and war, and death.
If we choose to help build the Kingdom, do we have enough to complete the job? Does anyone? We all make poor choices at times; we all sin. If we start to build, we will not finish. Jesus is right; people will stand around laughing at us.
Remember Jesus said something about carrying a cross? We know that he did that--he carried his cross and died on it, and people stood around making fun of him.
“You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
When Jesus died, people thought he had failed in his mission. The tower he was building was incomplete. The Kingdom he said he belonged to fell apart. Didn't it?
What do we know?
He had given all of himself to building the Kingdom, emptied all of himself for God, and so God's life and love so completely fills him, that he is risen from the dead. He can never died again. In one person--in Jesus--death is no more.
What about us?
So I have to carry a cross, do something that will not be easy? I have to give all of myself--somehow--to God? If this is so, I don't think I can do it. I know that I do not have enough to build the Kingdom. But am I alone?
"I am the vine, you are the branches."
I am joined to Jesus with the love of God, the Holy Spirit. You are joined to Jesus with to love of God, the Holy Spirit. We are not alone! We build the tower, the Kingdom of God, together. As part of the living True Vine, with the strength of the Holy Spirit flowing from Jesus to each one of us, we can build this tower.