True Discipleship

What are the conditions of discipleship? If I were to take a survey, I am sure that the majority of you would say:

1. Follow Jesus.
2. Repent and be baptized.
3. Live the commandments.

True Discipleship

True discip­leship demands more. In the Gospel for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Luke adds three mind boggling conditions to the terms of true disciple­ship: hate your father and mother, your wife or husband, your children, your brothers and sisters, even your own life. Secondly, you have to carry whatever crosses life lays on you. And preferably with a smile. Finally, you have to give up every possession you own. Quite a list, don’t you think? But wasn’t Jesus’ ministry all about love? In the text from Luke (14:25-33), the word hate is actu­ally an idiomatic term meaning “to love less”. Simpler put, not even family loyalty should out­weigh our commitment to Jesus, since we must be willing to abandon even close relationships to fol­low him.


Where is Jesus in our life? If there is a choice bet­ween rival loves like Jesus vs money, fame, power or pleasure, which do we choose? Jesus doesn’t stop there: we must be willing to carry a cross. Suffering is all around us, it comes in various forms. No human being escapes, whether it’s a Christian or Atheist or Muslim, young or old, rich or poor. Suffering is a part of us and our daily life and our future. It is up to us to embrace our cros­ses, no matter how big or small. How we do this I can’t say. But I can tell you that if our Savior, God in the flesh, hung on the cross for three hours, until his heart gave out, then suffering must have a profound place in the story of salvation. His re­surrection brought light to his suffering and the same is true for us. Jesus embraced his cross and we must do the same.