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Discipleship comes with a cost

Based on 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62

Not the usual welcome. Not the usual journey. This Sunday’s readings are all about the cost of discipleship.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus and his disciples, traveling to Jerusalem, have to pass through Samaria where they plan to stop in one of the villages. The Samaritans and Jews have been enemies since Old Testament times. When the Samaritans hear Jesus and his disciples are planning to stop in the village, they chase them away – neither welcoming Jesus nor wanting to listen to him teach.

The disciples are angry. James and John want to see the Samaritans punished. They think of Jesus’ ministry as an earthly kingdom, one with power and prestige.

Over the next few months Luke’s Gospel will tell us more about Jesus’ journey. It will be a long, difficult journey for Jesus and his disciples, but an important one.

Jesus knows he has to prepare the disciples for his suffering, death and Resurrection. He explains the power of love – not forceful, conquering power – will be the rule in his kingdom. Jesus scolds his disciples for wanting revenge upon the Samaritans – not to embarrass them but so they’ll totally commit themselves to follow him.

Jesus calls us to be his totally committed disciples, to live a Christian life so he can make his home in our hearts. No matter how hard it may be for us at times, Jesus promises to be with us always to help on our life’s journey.

Pope Francis says, “The fruitfulness of the Gospel is by the grace of Jesus Christ, yet through us, our preaching, our courage and our patience. Evangelization is not easy, and it will be opposed by the devil, but this spiritual battle is ‘the daily lot of Christians.’”