Pastor’s Corner for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
Each of us when we decide to take a long trip we make necessary preparations and plan ahead. We make sure we have a map and directions for the journey ahead. We sit down and make calculations and costs involved in the journey ahead. We do our best to be prepared for any unplanned events along the way. We don’t set out ill-equipped or unprepared.
Jesus always invites us to follow Him, and the decision to follow in his footsteps is not always easy. Jesus makes this very clear right at the beginning of this Sundays gospel when he spells out the cost of being his disciple, “if anyone comes to me without hating their father and mother, wife, children, brothers and sister and even his own life, they cannot be my disciple!” Jesus tells that we have to work it out for ourselves to see if we have what it takes to live with demands of being his follower. This means that first we have to figure out what being a follower of Jesus will cost us, and then decide whether we have the energy and resources to meet that cost. The cost of being a disciple of Jesus? Everything we have and are! The reward of being a disciple? Everything God has and is!
The danger is that if we are overly concerned and anxious about the cost of following Jesus, we might never set out on this path in the first place. It will cost us much, everything in fact. But we have already started on this journey at our baptism. The reward is priceless; the fullness of life which begins here and now and which we will inherit fully in the life to come. We begin this journey of being the disciple of Jesus in faith, but not on our own. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom tells that we are given the gift of wisdom and the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us on our journey. The challenge, then, is not to look at the cost, but to keep our eyes on Jesus who is walking with us showing us the way. In faith and hope, then, let us take up our cross and follow where Jesus lead us.
To take up the cross requires us to be present to God with our mind, our heart and our strength, in every aspect of our lives. When we begin to have this sense of faithfulness and desire in building a relationship with God, we will see how it can transform our lives.
May God bless and keep you safe
Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ