THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
Today’s gospel: Luke 9:22-25
In today’s gospel, Jesus talks about the conditions
of discipleship. Just because you claim to be a Christian
or were baptized as a Catholic does not make you truly a Christian
or a disciple of Jesus. Discipleship is about being the kind
of person that Jesus intends for us to become. So Jesus “said
to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me ....’”
(v.23a). Jesus does not force anyone, even as he knows that
it is best if we do come after him.
one thing is obvious. The true Christian life is hard, challenging
and self-sacrificial. We after all follow in the footsteps
of Jesus. What happened to him? “The Son of Man must
suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests,
and the scribes, and be killed” (v.22a). Suffering,
rejection, death. Such was God’s way for His Son. Such
is also God’s path for the true Christian. Seemingly
a life of defeat and ignominy, it actually is the path to
victory, glory and true life. Thus, for Jesus: “on the
third day be raised.” (v.22b).
do you still wish to come after Jesus? Then, according to
Jesus, such a person “must deny himself and take up
his cross daily and follow me.” (v.23b). The conditions
of discipleship are three things (and these are what make
a true Christian).
he must deny himself. We do not look to our
own life, our own desires, our own agenda, our own priorities.
We are to serve God with our all, without counting the cost.
We are to be ambassadors of Christ, representing him and presenting
him to the world. We are to proclaim the good news of salvation
in him, in doing so willing to endure any hardship. We
are called to be witnesses. We testify to the love
of God. We share about Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the
cross, his perfect self-denial. When we do all these, we can
expect to be ridiculed, oppressed and persecuted. We must
stand firm. We must be ready to give even our very lives.
We are called to be martyrs.
he must take up his cross daily. We are to
do the work of evangelization. We are to assault the dark
kingdom of the evil one. We engage in spiritual warfare. We
do so under the banner of the cross, for there is our victory
and power. We are to win this world for Christ. Thus we
are called to mission. We engage in real war, and
we will be bruised and bloodied. We put on the armor of God.
We wield weapons of righteousness, especially the sword of
the Spirit. We are called to be warriors.
he must follow Jesus. Jesus obeyed the Father unconditionally.
He was always praying to the Father. He abandoned himself
to God’s will. He rejected the temptations of the evil
one. He loved without reservation, even his very enemies.
We are to do likewise. We are to reflect Jesus in our lives.
We are called to holiness. As God who called us is holy, we
are to be holy in every aspect of our conduct. We are to be
perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. We are to be other
Christs. We are to be holy temples where the Holy Spirit dwells.
We are called to be saints.
we deny ourselves we let go of our very lives. When we embrace
the cross, we lay our lives on the line. When we follow Jesus,
he leads us to death to self, or even to actual physical death
for his sake. But it is in such letting go of our lives where
we discover true life. In being killed Jesus was raised. In
coming after Jesus we will uncover the mysterious truth: “For
whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for my sake will save it.” (v.24).
indeed are we here in this world for? To attain to riches,
power, position, influence, renown, sensual pleasures, material
rewards? That would be foolish. “What profit is there
for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
(v.25). Do we truly wish to come after Jesus? Then take up
Called to follow Jesus, to deny self, to take up
the cross daily.
Called to holiness, to be witnesses, to mission.
Called to be saints, martyrs and warriors.