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(Part 159)


September 4, 2016
Today’s gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Today one-third of the world population profess to be Christian. “Great crowds were traveling with him” (v.25a). But how many are truly Christian? The Philippines is 92-94% Christian and a great majority of those are Catholics. But many are not living as true Christians. Who are authentic Christians? They are those who are true disciples of Jesus. And who are those?

Jesus himself gives the answer, by telling us who are not or cannot be his disciples. In today’s passage, Jesus gives 3 criteria.

First. “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (v.26). Whoa! Are we to hate our relatives, those closest to our hearts? I thought we were supposed to love them? What Jesus means is that if we are to be his disciples, then he is the priority. Oftentimes well-intentioned Christians are unable to serve him because of their concern for their families, because they devote all their time and energy to their loved ones. Actually, when we decide to serve Christ, we certainly will not be neglecting our families, as that is part of Jesus’ intent for us. But we look to Jesus our Master to tell us how we are to divide our time and energy. In everything, God first.

Second. “In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (v.33). Whoa! How will we eat, or provide for our loved ones, or even do mission? Well, Jesus wants all these for us. But we must not be attached to them, we must not spend our time and energy in just pursuing them, and we must not allow them to replace Jesus in our hearts. As Jesus has said, you cannot serve God and mammon. A disciple recognizes that he is just a steward of what God allows him to possess. He is not ruled by possessions. Being freed of a desire for possessions, he is now able to serve the Master in any way.

Third. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (v.27). Whoa! How about comfort and convenience, the good things in life, the little (and hopefully big) pleasures in life? Well, the prosperity gospel is a false gospel, as the authentic gospel is the gospel of the cross. An authentic disciple will encounter difficulties, suffering, pain, persecution. One who shuns hardships thus cannot become a true disciple. We follow in the footsteps of the Master, and those steps lead all the way to the cross.

Jesus knows what can keep a disciple from truly and fully following him. Family, possessions and comfort are not bad things, but they are things that can keep one from giving his all to Jesus and his mission. Jesus will not deprive us of these good things, but we must decide that our first and only priority is Jesus, period. An authentic disciple is called to total dedication and commitment to the Master. Then it will be up to him to give us these good things.

Are you a true disciple of Jesus? Be realistic in assessing the costs (see v.28-32).

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