23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C
"This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish." (Luke 14:30)
This passage from Luke pricked my conscience in a way that I wasn’t expecting. The word that kept coming up as I reflected was “steadfastness” and just how hard it is to keep going at times, no matter how noble the cause or how necessary the work. I greatly admire and appreciate the people who are consistent and resilient in my life because I can see just how much work and dedication goes into growing those virtues. It’s easy to be inspired and energized by new and exciting tasks, but as soon as the novelty wears off, we need to tap into motivation that isn’t emotions based and that is not always easy to come by.
I know for myself, I live off the thrill of starting something new, that initial brick laying for the tower. But the second I run into a snag, make a mistake, or I realize that this is harder than I originally thought, I can get discouraged. I think of how many unfinished towers I have in my own life because I couldn’t find the fuel to keep going.
The life of discipleship often begins with spiritual highs that are similar to that of starting a new tower. Many of us have a deep desire to build the kingdom of God in thanksgiving for what He has done for us, so following His will can feel almost easy. But the true growth in our relationship with God comes from pushing through when times get difficult (or even just mundane) by growing in our dependence on God's grace. That can be hard because His grace is completely out of our control, but it is important to remember that God wouldn’t ask us to complete a task without giving us the resources we need. He only asks us to return the steadfastness that He so freely gives to us.