A reading from the gospel according to Luke 14:25-33
25 Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them,
26 “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?
29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him
30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
31 Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
32 But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
33 In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
Reflection: The Cost of Discipleship
Following Jesus is not without cost and Jesus does not hide the fact that it is not easy to become a disciple. It is either accepting Him as Lord and savior or rejecting Him outright. Nothing is in between. You cannot become a part time disciple.
The gospel reading above mentions at least three things that we need to do so we can become His disciple. First, we need to “hate” our family and our own life. This means we should make Jesus our priority and everything will fall into place. We love our families and friends but if they tell us to stop going to church, we should not listen to them. Instead, we pray for them and in due time, they will understand and even become fellow Christians.
Second, it is necessary to carry our own cross if we want to follow Jesus. This means death to our selves, to our ego, to our old habits and behavior so that we can have a new life with Him.
Third, we are asked to renounce our possessions to be a disciple. Many times, our devotion to our business or profession gives us less time for our spiritual growth. Likewise, our material wealth becomes a source of sin because we are too attached to them. We should use our possession to glorify God and not to bring us to damnation.
In short, Jesus is telling us that we should not let anyone including family members and even friends to hinder us from following Jesus. Neither should we let anything including possessions to prevent us from surrendering our life completely to Him. To be a true disciple, we must make Jesus our foremost priority, our number one. All other things become secondary.