Counting the cost
LUKE 9: 51–62
This week’s gospel is directing us to follow Jesus to the cross. It also presents Jesus as someone very clear about His goal. The arrival point of His journey is His return to His Father’s presence. Our text says that He resolutely took the road to Jerusalem, decisive about setting His face towards His destiny.
The lack of hospitality by the Samaritans and the question of James and John about the incineration of the Samaritan village do not deflect Him. If we look deeper into this journey, we realise that there are stumbling blocks on this road of discipleship whilst the Samaritan people are seen not receiving Jesus.
We, too, can testify that on this road of being a disciple we experience rejection, obstacles, and the hardship of taking up our daily crosses. It’s almost as though we experience a roadblock on our journey but Jesus points us to the way.
Like the Samaritan who rejected Jesus without knowing who He was, we also do this to others in our workplace, families, parishes and communities. We judge people without knowing what they are about and often we do not realise that we are indeed rejecting Jesus in others.
Jesus and His disciples had just come from a town where they had been refused hospitality. He meets a man on the road and Christ responds to his desire to follow Him: “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He did not come to earth to live in comfort and luxury. He came to suffer and to serve.
What was Jesus doing? Why did He use such a statement? He was helping this man count the cost of discipleship. Do we desire to follow Christ? Then we need to count the cost. It is a lifetime commitment, and sometimes Christ calls you to suffering. Regardless, it is a life of obedience; it is a life of commitment; it is a life of joy.
Following Jesus requires the willingness to make clear priorities. When Jesus invited the next man on His journey, He chooses the death and burial of one’s father to show His point. Faced with competing responsibilities some tough choices have to be made. Jesus challenges us to give the Kingdom of God priority in our lives here. Is the Kingdom of God our top priority today?
Too many people have been sidetracked from following Jesus by delaying their response. ‘I’m not ready to commit to Christ quite yet’. ‘Maybe next year’. ‘I want to follow you Jesus, but first let me travel or climb the ladder of success’.
Don’t make a hasty commitment to follow Christ, but don’t delay either. Count the cost, and then choose to follow Christ now, not later. When we put off responding to His call, other things may fall into our path and crowd our responses and commitment. We are often like this man, who actually told Christ, “Let me go and bury my father first!” We cannot be about self first: God is first, everything else after.
The decision to follow Jesus must be clear and decisive. Nothing must hinder it. Are you willing to follow Jesus today? I was just a child when I responded “yes” to His invitation. My formation as a disciple started in my home, guided by mother, then in the parish.
Set aside some time and respond to His invitation to follow Him today. Open yourselves to His spirit guiding you and set your heart upon His call. Each of us has a part to play in spreading the news of the Kingdom of God.
Father Lord, help us to listen and respond to the invitation to follow Christ daily in our lives. May your Spirit lead us to be and to do the Holy Will of God. Amen.
The Gospel Meditations for June were by Rosemarie Siewnarine, a wife, mother of two sons and parishioner of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Carapichaima. She is also a Standard 4/5 teacher at the Carapichaima RC Primary School.