Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Lk. 14:27
Jesus didn’t hide the reality from his disciples. He pointed out the difficulties, the hardships, and the sacrifices that would be required of those who would follow him. He told them in no uncertain terms that it wouldn’t be easy.
It’s possible to be a follower of Christ without being a disciple…One might not be pulling one’s weight, or playing one’s part. One might be a talker rather than a doer.
Once someone approached a famous professor about a young man and asked, “So and so tells me that he was one of your students. Is that correct?” To which the professor replied, “That man did indeed attend my lectures, but believe me he was never a real student of mine.”
It is one of the supreme handicaps of the Church that in it there are many people who follow Christ at a safe distance, but very few real disciples, that is, people who actually do what they said.
Let’s face it. It is not easy to be a disciple of Christ. Discipleship has some practical demands that one cannot escape under pain of betraying the Gospel. Yet we have many comfortable church-goers who gave little heed to the misery of the needy and the groaning of the poor. Still today the Christian is called to renounce many things that are taken for granted by others.
Some followers melt away as soon as a demand is made on them, like snow before the sun. Others are destroyed by opposition and criticism, like a fickle flame that is blown out by the first gust of wind.
When the king visited the monasteries of the great Zen master, Lin Chi, he was astonished to learn that there were more than ten thousand monks living there. Wishing to know the exact number of monks the king asked, “How many disciples do you have?”
“Four or five,” Lin Chi replied.
Jesus said in following him there is a place for common sense, for prudence, and for counting up the cost. We mustn’t take on more than we are capable of. Of course, we won’t know in advance what we are capable of. We may underestimate or overestimate ourselves. We may need a challenge to bring the best out of us.
We can draw encouragement from the example of the apostles. The Gospels show that they struggled at every point to follow Jesus. Yet he did not write them off.
By looking at them we discover our own inadequacies. The Gospel offers hope to Christians who fail. Repentance and a second chance are always possible. Jesus is generous with his grace to those who strive to answer his call (A reflection by Flor McCarty).
This week and next we will be finishing our work on the parking lot. Here is the schedule of work:
- Wednesday, September 11th, mill north parking lot
- Thursday & Friday, September 12th & 13th patch and overlay north parking lot.
- Tuesday, September 17th, crack seal, seal coat, and stripe north parking lot
- Wednesday, September 18th, crack seal, seal coat, and stripe south parking lot