Discipleship

Luke 14: 25-33
Rom 13:8-10 / Psa 112

In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:33)

There’s more to life than mere possessions,
Or even our closest relations;
Friends, kin, loved ones-- they all pass on;
What matters most is God alone.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-33)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel is a lesson in self-denial, or what would appear to be ‘self-hate’. This basic requirement of discipleship refers to one’s willingness to leave his or her comfort zone (family), and forgo all conveniences, privileges, prestige or pleasure — for a higher purpose and a wiser choice. Our love for God as the driving force of discipleship must be so intense that even our human loves must seem like “hate” in comparison. This, of course, is as difficult to understand as a disciple’s willingness to carry his cross (problems or pains) for His Master, Jesus’ sake. Indeed, to be His disciple is to prioritize Jesus above and ahead of everything and everyone — even if it means suffering and loss of everything else we hold dear. We find enough examples of what our Lord is teaching in the Bible. Abraham was called to leave his father’s house (Gen.12:4). Joseph was sold to slavery in Egypt (37:28). Moses left his comfortable home in order to liberate God’s people (Exo 4:20). The prophets like Jeremiah (Jer 15:10) were sent to warn the Israelites about their sins, at risk of their own persecution. Our Lord Jesus Himself showed the supreme example of self-denial when He became man to be crucified for our redemption.

Unless we deny the pleasures and prestige offered by this world, we cannot honestly say that our involvement in and relationship with Christ are motivated and nurtured by His dying on the Cross. Only when we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake do we really appreciate what He did for us. “And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be My disciple”. It is with absolute resolve that we must stand by our faith in Jesus Christ. And this requires taking on whatever is required of us, with no excuses, compromises or hesitation. Like the man building a tower or the king going to war, we must exercise a keen sense of discernment, weighing the cost of our commitment as His disciple. Only then will we see the success of our efforts when we put our total faith and trust in His divine plan.

There will be times when even those we hold most precious may be sacrificed for the sake of our mission. The Holy Spirit will give us the grace to understand that they were only lent to us for a time, a treasure that is not for our sole possession. Nothing is permanent in this life, not even our own children. As a matter of fact, as parents, we have to “let go” of our children, for their sakes, as well as for ours. Ultimately, what only matters is our soul.

I know, Lord God, that all my possessions and relationships are but temporal and passing – only Your love is eternal. That is why following Jesus Christ is the wisest choice. Amen.

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