A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, "If anyone 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. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." REFLECTION: "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
What does it look like to truly follow Jesus and not just believe in Him?
To become a disciple of God is a major commitment. To be a follower of God is to follow the steps of the Master, to be like Him, to think like Him, to live like Him, to carry our cross like Him, to live in poverty like Him and to love like Him.
The disciples followed Jesus for three years and were instructed how to live their lives and how to plan for success in bringing the Kingdom to all. Jesus teaches us how to prepare for victory by thinking ahead--discerning our plans, deliberating on what to do and when we are properly equipped deciding we are ready for battle.
Love is the key. To love Jesus is to put Him first--above our family, jobs, careers and even ourselves. We also have to give up our vices such as jealousy, anger, sloth, laziness, pride and temper. But most of all we have to be willing to get our hands dirty helping the hopeless, the disenfranchised, and the poor.
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."
God will help us. Some of us are slow learners, some of us make more mistakes, and some of us have more vices than virtues. God will give us the extravagant Divine graces needed to be His disciple. Just ask Him!
God Bless You