One day, when large crowds were walking along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “If you come to me, unwilling to sacrifice 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.
Jesus doesn’t hesitate to heighten the bar of the discipleship. He aims for the primacy of embracing the Kingdom preached by him over all other human love. His list is very complete: “father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters.” He goes even one more step by demanding that one be capable of renouncing oneself and carrying the cross.
We can ask: why Jesus is so radical in his proposal? Jesus knows that in him the offering of eternal salvation has arrived, and destiny forever is the ultimate meaning of life. In our everyday life, we are diverted by many concerns. We easily forget the final goal of our journey. Jesus is there to remind us of this essential truth.
Therefore, we can understand the following parables: the building of the tower and the war against the enemy. In both cases we should be prudent in calculating our resources and strength to avoid the failure. But in our purpose, can we be discouraged from embracing discipleship? If we take to heart our reading of the New Testament, we can be confident that our resource and strength is in the Lord. We are not alone in our building nor in our war.
May the teachings of Jesus awaken in us the flame of hope and love.
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