Qualities of Jesus’ Disciple
Discipleship comes at a high cost—us following Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and Life demands of us deep-rooted love for Him. Jesus expresses in a seemingly harsh language the burden of discipleship when he turned to the multitudes following him and said to them:” If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26). What appears to be an inappropriate language for describing the condition for following Jesus is a Semitic idiomatic expression which means that the option for Jesus and his Gospel must always take priority over our love for ourselves and those close to us, including members of our immediate family. An essential quality for anyone who wants to be a disciple of Jesus is their readiness always to prioritize loyalty to Jesus over others. Discipleship costs much.
To follow Jesus and proclaim His kingdom entails calculating the cost. Becoming Jesus' disciple demands everything we are, especially our trust and faith in God's will for us. And always, God’s plan for us is to carry our cross and come after Jesus willingly. Therefore, we must continually discern our ability and will to offer sufficient sacrifices as the Lord demands. He requires us to practice detachment from material comfort and trust in his love and providence. The conditions for following Jesus are challenging. Yet, we must admit that God’s wisdom is more significant than our wisdom and worth our trust (Wisdom 9: 17-18). Like St. Paul, we must love God above all other things to become prisoners for Christ and his Gospel (Philemon 9: 10, 12).
Carrying our cross and following in the path of Jesus is a burdensome task. Yet, it is the only way to fulfill the demands of discipleship. We are often at moral crossroads on where to go or what choice to make in our day-to-day living. We live in circumstances where we must choose Jesus and His Gospel over other competing interests. Our option may cost us the love and friendship of people dear to our hearts. The suffering that we go through in the process of loving Jesus above self and loved ones is not tragic or useless suffering. Jesus has transformed the agony of bearing crosses into channels of grace. Jesus has sanctified our sorrows in His name. We need the grace of God and our own will to carry our cross as faithful disciples of Jesus. God’s grace is sufficient for us. Let’s pray daily for His grace.
Happy Labor Day! As we celebrate Labor Day this week, let us thank God for the gift of labor-the ability and opportunity to work. Work often calls for sacrifice, but it also points to the dignity of the human person. We pray for all who work hard to be rewarded and those without a job to get one soon.
I invite you all to our monthly Eucharistic Adoration on Monday. Come with your family to pray for the grace of discipleship. Also, do not forget to attend our Thursday evening mass as we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our parish offers many means of graces we need to strengthen our capacity to bear the cost of discipleship generously and joyfully. I invite you to the banquet of love; please come.
In the Cross of Christ,