The cost of following Christ
Sunday September 5, 2019 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Birth of Mary First Reading: Wis 9:13-18 Second Reading: Phlm 9-10, 12-17 Gospel Reading: Lk 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)
Those who follow Christ without counting the cost will not persevere. Christ died on the cross in Calvary; can any follower expect any easier destiny? Any attempt to follow Christ must factor in the possibility of suffering and even of death. Once this is settled one can proceed to identify possible sources of strength. One tried and tested source is prayer.
There are different kinds of prayer, namely, spontaneous, private, communal, and sacramental prayer. Of these four, sacramental prayer obtains the greatest strength on two grounds. First, it is centered on the Eucharist where Christ is the one offering through the instrumentality of the priest and he himself in flesh and blood is being offered. Second, it is essentially communitarian and enjoys the promise of Jesus that he will be wherever two or more are gathered in his name.
It was prayer that saved the sanity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like any mother she suffered a lot seeing her son unjustly oppressed. But she kept everything in her heart and pondered upon them meritoriously. If only people realize that prayer is really important to a disciple as fuel is to any motorized vehicle they would not easily give prayer up.
The cost of following Christ can be scary because it involves dying figuratively and even literally. But following him is not impossible since God is willing to supply the strength if one is willing to pray. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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