“… anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
Discipleship demands everything. There is the popular expression “God has no grandchildren.” We do not become disciples of Jesus simply by being born into a Catholic family. We do not become disciples of Jesus by being good citizens. We do not become disciples of Jesus by showing up for church on Sunday. Being a disciple of Jesus requires the intentional effort to follow where Jesus leads us.
We were first called to be disciples when we were baptized. For many of us, that means that we were infants, unaware of what was going on. At some point, we had to decide to follow Jesus. From that moment on, each day, we’ve decided to follow Jesus… and that means going where we might not want to go.
Today’s Gospel reminds us of the challenge of discipleship. Not many of us want to renounce all of our possessions. We like them. They give us comfort. Our possessions make us feel safe. They give us power. Through our possessions we get control of our lives. And Jesus calls us to renounce all of these things: comfort, safety, power, and control.
We are faced with a decision. Do we choose to follow Jesus as His disciple even when it makes us uncomfortable? Do we follow when that means taking a risk? Do we follow Jesus when he calls us to let go of power and control and surrender our lives completely into His hands? Do we follow Jesus to the cross?
Most of us say “yes” and “no” to the challenge of discipleship, especially when it becomes difficult. The question Jesus ultimately asks us to answer is, today what is your decision, will you be my disciple?
Lincoln A. Wood