A follower of Jesus is challenged  to be counter-cultural.  Jesus strongly challenged the culture of his time, especially as represented by the Scribes and Pharisees.  We are very far removed in space and time from the culture Jesus encountered during this life on earth.  Nevertheless we face the same challenge to be counter-cultural.

Because our nature has been wounded by original sin there is a certain disorder in our natural inclinations.  One such disorder is greed.  Greed has such negative connotations it might be better simply to say that we have an innate tendency to want more and when we have more to want better and when we have better to want different.  Our consumer culture feeds on that inclination.  In that regard the disciple must be counter-cultural.  It is not so much a question of being against that inclination as to control it, striving to maintain a proper balance in our attitude toward material things.

Reflecting on our contemporary culture it is not difficult to identify trends that
are incompatible with the message of Jesus.  The “right to privacy” has been twisted into justification for abortion and euthanasia.  Freedom is understood
as freedom to determine for oneself what is right and what is wrong. It becomes clear that a true follower of Jesus, a true disciple, is challenged to be counter-cultural.

Followers of Christ have to be clear about their values.  Surely we place higher value on family and health than on material things.  But we have to question our attitude toward material things.  As Christians, as people who want to be followers of Christ, we experience a certain tension in this regard.  On the one hand, Jesus tells his followers: “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.”  One the other hand, Jesus also teaches his followers to use wisely things of this world.  Recall the parable of the man who was going on a journey.  We work out our salvation in this world, using material goods but realizing our final goal and highest good transcends this world.

As it was first announced 2000 years ago the message of Jesus remains counter-cultural and a challenge to anyone who wants to be his disciple.  In fact, it is a challenge we could never meet on our own.  But Jesus has also given us words of assurance and consolation.  “By human resources it is impossible, but not for God; because for God everything is possible. (Mk. 10: 27)