The Conditions 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 himself?
(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 said to 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 his very self? (Luke 9:22-25)

Reflection

Jesus told the multitudes who were following Him that if they wanted to be His disciples, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily… “for whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Lk.9:24) Thus He made it clear that self-denial is the determining factor of a true Christian faith. Unless we are willing to accept our trials and problems with full trust and faith in God, 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. Some might wonder, ‘What if I have no cross to carry?’ Then perhaps you might consider helping others carry their own crosses. Crosses in life can come in many forms. It can be group of beggars that you believe are always waiting to “ambush” you at the church entrance every Sunday. It can be a business associate who owes you a large amount of money, but cannot pay because his business is floundering. It can be having a flat tire on a rainy day amidst heavy traffic, or trying to help a friend in the same predicament. Or it can be suffering in silence while others are making worse an already bad situation. On a flight back home the other day, we were made to wait for seven hours at the airport, and the airline’s ground staff could not give a definite answer why we were being detained for so long. This was a true test of our patience and understanding, but many of the passengers were already losing their tempers, that the airline’s security had to be called to maintain order in the premises. Finally, the ground crew announced that the airline was compensating all passengers with free roundtrip tickets to any destination (good for six months) for the long delay in their flight. Peace was finally restored.

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 (like patience and forgiveness}, fasting, almsgiving, 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 now confronting secular Christians. 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.

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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