There is, to my mind, a convergence between a recent Peanuts cartoon and the scripture readings for the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 4, 2016). In the cartoon:
Lucy: "Why are you hiding under the bed?"
Charlie: "School starts next week."
Lucy: "You hid under the bed last year and it didn't work."
Charlie: "I'm better at it now."
In Luke 14:23 we hear Jesus saying "...anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." This seems to be an impossibly hard saying. A few, like Francis of Assisi, have taken it literally. Others, like Francis de Sales, advocate a life of devotion compatible with the life of a soldier, prince, tradesman or married woman. Even these must come to terms with Luke 14:23 in a spiritual, if not literal, sense.
In the cartoon Charlie Brown gives us a clue. He has adopted a behavior that protects him from an apparently hostile world. He fools himself into thinking that, even though it didn't work last year, he can make it work this year. He clings to what Thomas Keating calls "programs for happiness" - those behaviors that we adopt to protect basic needs. At some point in life we discover that those programs no longer work for us. They worked before, but now they are self-defeating. At that point we can cling to them even more tightly. Ben Franklin defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Charlie Brown is clinging to his behavior of hiding from trouble even though he knows it won't work.
The gospel give us a different choice. We can renounce our preferred behavior and take the chance of turning over our life to the care of God. Most of us will not do this until, unlike Charlie, we recognize our insanity. When we do, we will find a new freedom and a new happiness. We will be able to march out of our home and go to school.
The gospel choice only looks hard while we are hiding under the bed.