The cost of following Christ
November 7, 2018
31st Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Phil 2:12–18
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)
Just as contractors need a good feasibility study, before putting up a building, to make intelligent cost analysis, so one needs to calculate the cost of discipleship before following Christ. Jesus had laid down clearly the requirements. A disciple must first deny himself and take up his cross before following Jesus.
Self –denial is crucial, considering that by nature human beings are self-centered. The fact that all babies come out of the womb with closed fist is illustrative of the selfishness that is inherent in our human nature. Jesus understands this difficulty and dangles abundant graces to those who try. In another Gospel passage he says, “Take my yoke upon your shoulders and I will give you rest”.
If one takes up his cross without self-denial, the cross will be too heavy for him to bear. Selfishness will be too heavy a rider on one’s cross. The net effect is a crushing weight that will destroy the person.
Through self-denial a person purifies himself. This purification ensures that in taking up his cross he only bears the salvific weight, not the weight of comeuppance.
Unless one denies himself before taking up his cross, he will find following Christ a miserable feat. He becomes a builder who, failingto make a reliable feasibility study, goes ahead constructing butaborts the project half way for lack of resources. Without selfdenial, a person puts down the cross halfway through thejourney and gives up the idea of following Christ. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: [email protected]
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