The Cost of Discipleship

Monday, March 4, 2019

Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Saint Casimir – Optional Memorial

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Mark 10:21-22

There are two important things to point out in this Scripture passage.  The first is Jesus’ reaction and the second is the rich young man’s reaction.

Jesus, it says, looked at him and “loved him.”  It’s important to be aware of this line as a precursor to what Jesus calls this young man to do.  He calls him to give up everything he has, give it all away, and come follow Jesus.  And Jesus invited him to do this out of love. 

Jesus is inviting this young man to gain much more than he currently possesses.  That’s why Jesus looked at him with love before He invited the young man to follow Him in a total and radical way.  But, in this case, loving Jesus was going to hurt.  It was going to hurt in the sense of his following of Jesus required a total sacrifice of everything.  It was total and radical.  It was hard, at least from a purely human and worldly standpoint.  But Jesus’ love for this young man was so perfect that He was willing to invite him to endure the sacrifice of everything so that the rich man could gain so much more.

We are invited to do the same.  No, we may not be called to follow Jesus in the unique and radical way of giving up all our physical possessions.  But we are called to follow Jesus to the same degree of trust and abandonment to His divine will.  And that will inevitably require sacrifice.  Sacrifice to the greatest degree. 

Our reaction to Jesus’ call to discipleship is key.  How will we respond to this invitation to give completely of ourselves?  The rich young man reacted at first with sorrow.  He did not accept the invitation Jesus offered.  We do not know if he eventually did follow Jesus in this radical and total way, but we do know his first reaction. 

Often times this is our first reaction also.  We want to be faithful and we want to follow Christ no matter what He asks.  But when given a concrete invitation to answer His call, we turn away in sadness thinking that the invitation is too demanding.

Reflect, today, upon this rich young man.  Look at your own life and ponder the question of how ready and willing you are to say “Yes” in a total way to whatever Jesus asks of you.  Saying “Yes” in a sacrificial way is the best decision you can make.  It is, in reality, a willing acceptance of the most glorious life you can live.

Lord, following You at times can seem hard and demanding.  It can seem as though it’s too much.  Help me, especially in those moments, to trust You more than the many attachments I have in this world.  Jesus, I trust in You.

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Saint of the Day – Saint Casimir