The Cost of Discipleship by Fr. Joel
Today, Jesus tells us the cost of being his disciples. We must consider this cost very seriously before making the commitment to become his disciples. Jesus is very blunt, serious and sincere in telling us these requirements for being his disciple. Being his disciple is not an easy job.
The first reading said: ‘’who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends? But when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever knew your counsel except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?’’ This means that no one is capable of knowing God’s mind except he decided to reveal it to you.
The Psalm says that, in every age, o Lord, you have been our refuge; for a thousand years in his sight is like a day; teach us to number our days a right so that we can gain wisdom; fill us with your blessing so we can rejoice all the days of our lives. This tells us how God has been gracious to his people, from one generation to another and how his ways are different from ours. But understanding his ways gives us wisdom that leads to eternal life.
In the second reading, St. Paul emphases the importance of our spiritual bond with each other; is like blood relationship. And he encourages us to accept one another as brothers and sister in Christ Jesus.
In the gospel, Jesus told his disciples the blunt and hard truth that anyone who wants to follow him must hate his family members and himself and carry his cross and follow him. Hatred for family members and yourself means accepting and choosing to do the will of God instead of your own will or that of your family members. And you are doing so because you recognized God’s will to be superior and the ultimate thing to do. And carrying the cross means being disciplined to avoid sins such as greed, Idolatry, impurity of any kind, stealing and cheating of all kinds, hatred and injustice, malice, envy and jealousy, enduring hardships and the challenges of being true disciples. It includes regular prayer life, receiving the sacraments and being in the state of grace always, taking decisions in favor of God’s will and against your personal interest and the wish of your family members. You do all of these because you want to do God’s will instead of humans will. Therefore, you are willing to give up human desires and interest for the will of God to be done in your life.
The cross also means any difficulties, hardships, and challenges that you encounter trying to be his true disciple. This includes accepting and accommodating the weakness and failings of your spouse, children, family members, friends, and, neighbors; training of children, giving care to the sick, elderly and those in need, and participation in different ministries and mission of the church. And for us to be true and successful disciples we must seek God’s counsel, will, blessings, wisdom, make him our refuge, and see other people as our sisters and brothers and render them good services.
We are not only to follow him by words but to imitate his lifestyle especially his suffering and sacrifices for the world. After washing the feet of his disciples he said to them, ‘’I have given an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’’ (John 13: 15). Remember that one strong condition of becoming his disciple is to carry the cross and the cross means suffering and sacrifice. It means accepting the will of God and rejecting our wills. No other way to be his disciple except through this way he has given us. Therefore, the cross is part and parcel of being his disciple. Anyone who preached Christianity without the cross is not speaking the mind of Jesus. A good Christian do not see suffering as a curse from God but as an opportunity to be a strong disciple of the Lord. We have been called to be another Jesus Christ to those around us beginning with our spouses and other immediate family members.
Therefore, do not just say yes to him without knowing the cost implication of following him. Just as you will want to buy a car or house you must first consider whether you are capable of paying for it or not. The dealers have the price for their goods and you cannot make them change the price to favor you. In the same way, you do not become a Christian and change the conditions given by the founder of it. These conditions have been given by him and no one is capable of changing them. You take or leave it.
Please note that however difficult it may be to be his disciple, the blessings of being a true disciple are amazing. The benefits are outrageous. Therefore, risk whatever it takes to be his true disciple and gain the ultimate reward from him.
TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP