Today, we celebrate the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In our gospel Jesus describes the cost of discipleship. He describes the cost of discipleship by using three illustrations.
Family—Division: The first illustration Jesus used is that of a person’s family. He says, “Whoever loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10:37) My dear friends, a person’s family is to be the strongest and most precious relationship among human beings. A person is to love his family as much as he loves any others on earth. However, there is one relationship that is to supersede his relationship with his family: that is his relationship to Jesus Christ. He is to love Christ Supremely, counting Him more worthy than all, even more worthy than his own family. There are at least three reasons why Christ is to be counted more worthy.
1. Christ is the Supreme Being of the universe. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Protector of life throughout the course of our walk on earth.
2. Christ is the Supreme Savior. He is the Giver and Provider of life, both abundant and eternal life. Our families can bring some happiness and pleasure to our lives, and they can protect us to some degree in this life- but not ultimately.
3. With Christ we have the supreme relationship. Christ is totally unselfish, and He loves perfectly.
The 2nd illustration Christ used is that of the cross. Christ again made a strong demand. “whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10:38) Every man has his cross. The cross is the symbol of death and of execution. Every man must die to self – day by day. He must count himself dead to sin and follow Christ.
The 3rd illustration Jesus used is that of a person’s life. He says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it.” The phrase “finds his life” means that a person seeks his own pleasure and passions in life. It is a selfish life, finding out what pleases self and going after it. It is heaping and hoarding and doing as self wills. We live in a sinful and evil world: a world of pain and hurt, of starvation and disease, of crime and injury, greed and selfishness, of war and death. The one thing that is needed by all is to deny self: to commit and to lose our lives in Christ. “Whoever loses his life… will find it.” The phrase “loses his life” means that a person seeks to lose his life on this earth to find God. It means that a person gives up the right to order his own life, and he lets Christ control his life.
Questions to reflect on this beautiful Sunday: Is God the center of my life? Do I take up my cross and follow Christ? Do I empty myself to be filled by Christ?
Have a good week,
Fr. Kishore Babu Battu, SAC