Today's Gospel: Luke 14:25-33 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time The subtitle of Luke 14:25-33 in my Bible, reads, “Discipleship Tested”. What a perfect title for a reflection on the day we celebrate (or we would, if it wasn't a Sunday this year) the birthday of the greatest disciple, Mary. This verse includes phrases such as "carry your own cross", "come after me", "calculate the cost", "consider if you are strong enough" … all before taking the risk. My discipleship journey began as a response to fear. If this God stuff were true, then I wanted to at least have perfect Mass attendance to present at the pearly gates. I had unwittingly played into Pascal's wager. I’d come to choose a Christian life because the eternal consequence of not following Christ seemed too risky. In the beginning, it was fear that had me hedging my bets with Christ -- not love. I attended Mass because I’d been taught it was an obligation necessary for entering Heaven, or more in line for my thinking, avoiding Hell. The abundant blessings of participating in this grand banquet was completely lost in my ignorance of the Catholic faith. I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know about following being a Catholic and following Christ. At first, maintaining my resolve on this choice was very difficult. This path felt riddled with regulations and restrictions instead of the graces and blessings choosing Christ actually offers. The Mass, I have learned is a foretaste of Heaven, and that only Jesus offers true and lasting joy, peace, hope, and most of all, unfailing love. As I tested the waters of discipleship, some days offering the bare minimum, Jesus in return blessed my efforts. My wisdom and understanding continue to be strengthened. The risk has come with blessings beyond measure and I believe will culminate in a reward my heart cannot even begin to fathom.


How has your discipleship been tested? Do you follow Christ out of fear or love?


Jesus, as I calculate the costs of following You, may I only see the abundant blessings You offer. May my heart always be willing to carry my own cross, knowing that You will always use it to strengthen my faith.
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