A new school year has just begun. What an appropriate time to act as a student, eager to learn what it takes to follow the Lord. What does it take to be a disciple of Jesus? A couple of weeks ago, we learned it takes discipline, a word derived from the same Latin root, discaplina, which means teaching or instructions. The lessons are not always easy. Wisdom acknowledges that God’s ways cannot be understood through just human thought.
Jesus called Simon Peter after filling his net on an evening of fishing where he caught nothing. Having witnessed this miracle, Peter and his partners immediately left their families and jobs to follow him. But in today’s passage, Jesus encourages each would-be disciples to follow the examples of a tower builder and an army leader, each of whom concedes at length before reaching a practical conclusion. We may be overly surprised by a miracle, but it is more likely we will follow based on practical considerations.
Our Lord frames the requirements as “whoever does not hate father, mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life too, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciples.”
Jesus is aware that the demands of discipleship are not likely to be accepted when Jesus tells us to hate our nearest and dearest. He does not mean that literally. He is challenging us to do what seems impossible, spurning one’s family, one’s possessions, one’s comfort, even one’s own life. He means that no love in life can compare with the love we must bear to him.
Every day is a time for school, learning something about God, our world, our neighbor, and ourselves. Are we just an admirer of Jesus or a true follower? We should never stop learning or we start dying. He who called us to the steep road will walk with us every step of the way and be there at the end to meet us.
Love, Peace, Joy