November 8, 2017
31st Week in
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
One day, when large crowds were walking along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “If you come to me, without being ready to give up your love for your father and mother, your spouse and children, your brothers and sisters, and indeed yourself, you cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not follow me carrying his own cross cannot be my disciple.“Do you build a house without first sitting down to count the cost to see whether you have enough to complete it? Otherwise, if you have laid the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone will make fun of you: ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’“And when a king wages war against another king, does he go to fight without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand can stand against the twenty thousand of his opponent? And if not, while the other is still a long way off he sends messengers for peace talks. In the same way, none of you may become my disciple if he doesn’t give up everything he has.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Constructing a building needs a good feasibility study so that contractors can make an intelligent cost analysis. A similar preparation is needed in the realm of Christian discipleship. The requisites are out: “If you want to follow me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
Self-denial is at the center of cost analysis in following Christ. Born into this world with closed fists we are self-centered by nature. This makes following Christ a heavy cross to bear, a costly project indeed!
But Christ promises relief to those who try (Matthew 11:29), assuring those who come to him of an easier yoke and a lighter burden. The burden is still there; it is just more manageable. The burden, in fact, does not diminish in any measure. But it feels lighter because the person is empowered by grace in carrying it.
Others may challenge this thesis citing the difficulty of transition to new life in the Spirit. If Christ offers rest to those who take his yoke, how come life begins to feel unbearable to those who start life anew in Christ? Blame it on failure of self-denial. Jumping into the bandwagon of discipleship without mastery in the art of self-denial is like constructing a building without feasibility study. The builder goes ahead constructing but aborts the project half way for lack of resources. Similarly, without self-denial a person puts down the cross for lack of grace to finish the journey. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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