The Gospel of today might come to us as a difficult, if we don’t put it in the right context. It is a difficult teaching, especially if not read in the right way. We have to understand that Jesus doesn’t say that relationships or family are not important. He doesn’t say that we should not love those that are close to us. He does not abolish the fourth commandment or any other commandment. He only says we should give Him our everything.
Today Jesus remind us what the consequences are if we follow Jesus and his true Gospel. Not a cultural adapted Gospel or nationalistic Gospel but the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. When are following Jesus truly then that comes with a price. Jesus tells us that “those that love father or mother, son or daughter more than Him are not worthy of Him”. By saying that he is not telling that we should not love them. Contrary to how many people read that verse, the Gospel does not tone down the importance of God’s commandments. It rather fulfills these things. We know for sure that Jesus was not saying that children should ignore the wishes of their parents and justify it with the Gospel. Jesus was making very clear that if we are going to live the Gospel it will collide with the world. It will conflict with the ways of the world and cause tension with others.
Scholars are generally in agreement of the meaning when Jesus uses the phrase “he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” They agree that sacrificing their lives for the sake of the Gospel will give them the eternal reward. Jesus tells his disciples, and us, that he asks nothing less than total commitment. He repeats it in other parts of the Gospel.
We cannot be His disciple if we put other things before Him. Be it family, children, country, flag, celebrities, politicians or anything else. That goes against the first commandment. Christ’s call to discipleship, and to a life of complete submission to Him still rings just as true and just as real as it did when he said the words of the Gospel two millennia ago. In America we hear a lot about people claiming having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” But is that really true? We absolutely believe that our God is real. But do we really sacrifice everything for God. Or is it some kind of Nationalistic or Cultural Christianity where we believe that God is with us and against everybody else? There are a lot of people who believe that. But there are also people show their Christianity through their way of life. “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Jesus’ message of total commitment to Him is not exactly one we hear often in our modern culture. Far too many people are totally committed to their own advancement, their own enrichment, their own nation with their own false Gods. Many Christians think it is enough to go to Church, to quote Bible verses and to pray…. but it is not.
If we think that is what it means to live the Gospel, we have missed the point. In order to receive the sanctifying Grace of Christ, we need to be committed to Jesus Christ all the way. The ultimate reward for this kind of complete embrace of Jesus Christ and His message is that we will spend eternity in Heaven. Living a committed Gospel life may be a daily struggle for many of us. It might be difficult, but we have to remember that Christ is with us all the way. He is committed to us always, so is too much asked that we are committed to Him? The Gospel is not for the faint-hearted. Or like Mother Angelica said: “Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable”. It is true because we need to be strong. Jesus told us that difficulties come our way when we choose the Gospel. Every Theology that tells you differently is a false theology. He also said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus wants us to give him everything because we love Him. And if we do it is not a burden but a joy. Let us give ourselves to Jesus Christ and his Gospel so we might have life in abundance. Amen.