Commentary on today's Gospel reading (Luke 14:25 - 33), courtesy of DailyGospel.org, by Philoxenes of Mabbug (? c.523), bishop in Syria, Homilies, no.9 (cf SC 44):
Listen to God’s voice prompting you to leave yourself behind to follow Christ and you will be a perfect disciple: “Whoever does not forsake all he has cannot be my disciple.” What have you to say? What answer could you give to that? All your uncertainties and questions fall flat before that single word; the word of truth is the exalted path by which you will make progress. Again, Jesus said: “Whoever does not renounce all his goods and take up his cross to walk after me, cannot be my disciple.” And to teach us to renounce not only our goods - to give him glory - and the world - to confess him before men - but our life too, he added: “If anyone does not renounce himself, he cannot be my disciple.”… In another place he said: “Whoever hates his life in this world keeps it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him,” (Jn 12,26). And he then said to his own: “Get up, let us go,” (Jn 14,31). By this word he showed that his place is no more to be found here below than that of his disciples.
Lord, where then shall we go? “Where I am, there also let my servant be,” (Jn 12,26). If Jesus cries out to us: “Get up, let us go!” who will still be so foolish as to consent to remain with the dead in their tombs, dwelling among captives? So every time the world tries to detain you, remember Christ’s word: “Get up, let us go!” So long as you are living, this voice will be enough to stir you. Every time you feel like sitting down, settling, being content to stay where you are, call to mind that voice saying to you insistently : “Get up, let us go!”
We shall have to go, anyway. But go as Jesus went; go because he has told you to and not because death has carried you away in spite of yourself. Whether you like it or not you are walking the road of the departing. But leave at the word of your Master and not simply because you have to. “Get up, let us go!”… Why delay? Christ also walks with you.
I found myself uncomfortably confronted by today's Gospel reading, not because I thought it too demanding, for what demands can be too high for everlasting life in the presence of God, forever possessing peace and joy beyond words to describe? What confronts me is not the Lord but my own inadequacy to his just challenge. I have been both unable to renounce myself completely and have several times started building and stopped mid-way. If no one else finds this laughable, I know at least that I do. Lord, lend me your Spirit that I may get up and go with you!