St. Andrew & Discipleship

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

St. Andrew was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. After preaching the Gospel and founding many Churches in Russia, and Turkey, and moved to Greece he converted many people to Christianity. He even converted Maximilla, the proconsul’s Aegue’s wife. Maximilla was furious and sought revenge so much that he arrested St. Andrew and commanded him to give up his faith by offering incense to the idols. If he did this would let him live. But St. Andrew pleaded with him to accept Christ and thus save his soul. St. Andrew was scourged and condemned to die upon the cross. He hung upon the cross for three days suffering great agony. Before his death, he prayed “accept me, O Christ Jesus whom I love, accept my spirit in peace in your eternal realm.” He died on an X-shaped cross. St. Andrew loved God more than his life, his brothers, his sisters, and even his parents.

Christ is not literally calling us to hate the members of our family to be his disciples. He loved and obeyed his parents. Also, His mother was his first and best disciple. So, we too must love members of our families. He is not in any way preaching the gospel of hatred, rather He wants us to be more committed to his ministry.

The Gospel reading today mentions at least three things that we need to do so we can become Jesus disciple. First, we need to ‘hate’ our family and our life. This means we should make Jesus our priority and everything will fall into place. We love our families and friends but if they tell us to stop going to church, we should not listen to them. Instead, we pray for them, and in due time, they will understand and even become fellow Christians.

Second, it is necessary to carry our cross if we want to follow Jesus. This means death to ourselves, to our ego, to our old habits and behavior so that we can have a new life with Him.

Third, we are asked to renounce our possessions to be a disciple. Many times, our devotion to our business or profession gives us less time for our spiritual growth. Likewise, our material wealth becomes a source of sin because we are too attached to it. We should use our possession to glorify God and not to bring us damnation.

Jesus is telling us that we should not let anyone, including family members and even friends, hinder us from following Him. To be a true disciple, we must make Jesus our foremost priority like St. Andrew, who gave his life for Jesus and His Mission. All the other things become secondary.

Commitment and sacrifice help us to give anything to follow Jesus. These dispose us to be a better disciple of Christ. These helps us to be better husbands, wives, parents, and children. They help us to be better leaders and even servants. In the spirit of commitment and sacrifice, the wisdom of God becomes fully alive and active in us. They also help us deepen our trust in God’s divine providence and protection so that we can follow Jesus.

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