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The Cost of Discipleship

September 28, Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Jb 9: 1-12. 14-16/ Ps 88: 10bc-11. 12-13. 14-15/ Lk 9: 57-62

The gospel today puts forth three demands of discipleship:
(i) Detachment: Jesus’ words “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” point out that he was so poor that nothing belonged to him. At the same time, when we look at his life, we know for sure that everything was belonging to him. When we hold on to certain things in life, only they belong to us and everything else is alienated from us. Instead, if we cultivate detachment, then we will understand that everything belongs to us. These are the words of St. John of the Cross, one of the greatest mystics: “In order to belong to everything, possess nothing.”

(ii) Keeping Away from Sin: Jesus’ second demand from the followers, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead” is worth reflecting. Can the dead bury the dead? One way of understanding this verse is: ‘Leave the (spiritually) dead to bury the (physically) dead.’ In the Bible, sin is seen as a sort of death. It is worth remembering the words of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. When the younger son returned after a life of sin, the father said, “This my son was dead, and is alive again.” (Lk 15: 24). Similarly, St. Paul says that the “body is dead because of sin” (Rom 8: 10). The message is that in order to be the disciple of Jesus, we need to keep ourselves away from the people who are spiritually dead and focus on preaching the gospel.

(iii) Being purpose-Oriented: Jesus’ words “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” instructs us that working for God’s kingdom demands us to fix our eyes on what is in front of us, not on what has happened. Purpose-oriented people keep their eyes on what is in front of them, not worried about all that is of the past. We do not have control over the past and looking back at it is not going to make us the workers of God’s vineyard. Someone said beautifully, “Leading life with past hunches is like driving a vehicle by looking at the rear-view mirror. There is no problem if you occasionally look at it. But if you permanently fix your eyes on it, you will meet with an accident.” St. Paul’s words, “Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3: 13) challenges us to fix our eyes on God and journey forward.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.