Condition of Discipleship

Luke 9:22-25
Dt 30:15-20 / Ps 1:1-4,6

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit their very self?
(Luke 9: 25)

Have no fear for problems or pain,
Just hope for the blessings life will bring.
Behind the trials, there’s a gain,
God has a purpose for everything.

Jesus told His disciples, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:22-25)

Reflection

Our Lord made it quite clear that self-denial is the determining factor of a true Christian’s faith. Unless we are willing to take up our cross to follow Jesus, we can never hope to claim membership in His Mystical Body, nor an inheritance in His heavenly kingdom.

For those among us who are blessed with material comforts and financial stability, the language of the cross can be a stark contrast to the kind of lifestyle we have become accustomed to. You might wonder, ‘What if I have no cross to carry?’ Then perhaps you might seriously consider helping others carry their own crosses in life.

This season of Lent is a time to reflect on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Where do we stand in terms of our commitment to Him? Do we still belong to the vast numbers who profess to be Christians, and yet never try to practice sacrifice (fasting), almsgiving, meditation, and submission to the Father’s will and obedience to the decrees of His Church? All of these practices are fruits of self-denial, which is the answer to the apathy and worldliness confronting Christians today.

Our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for our redemption. To reciprocate His love, the least we can do is submit to His discipleship, take up our crosses daily, and serve humbly as His servants. This was how Mitch’s (not his real name) life was formed by his Savior. Orphaned of mother at seven, this eldest son of a bus driver had to take care of his siblings while looking for means like selling root crops to augment their father’s meager income. As a working student in Manila, he earned his lodgings by serving as houseboy and driver to relatives, and for two years walked miles to school due to the lack of fare money. Rising out of poverty, he became a successful lawyer, and he showed his gratitude to God by serving his community in civic and religious organizations and as a public servant. He could have had a lucrative law practice in the big city (Manila), but he chose to serve his poor constituents in a rural province in Bukidnon. Coming from destitution, he and his teacher wife chose to serve the destitutes. Mitch believed that by denying himself, he chose the things of God, not the things of man. As St. Paul said, “For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.” (Phil.1:29)

It is to live for You, my Lord, and not for myself that I accept the cross You offer me. In bearing life’s hardships I hope to be Your disciple, joyful in this privilege. Amen.

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