The Gospel has two parts: 1) daring to lose all of one’s own and to gain oneself in Christ (vv. 37-39); 2) daring to accept the slightest thing offered by God in order ot receive God in it (vv. 40-42).
Whoever is not ready to accompany Jesus along the path to the Cross has not given all to Him. Intentional disciples leave no room for a hidden anticipation of getting back what they “lose” for Christ’s sake.
THE COST AND REWARD OF DISCIPLESHIP
In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains what it means to be an intentional disciple (Matthew 10:37-42). According to our blessed Lord, doing what He asks and imitating what He does leads us to risk this present life in order to gain eternal life.
Against the Gospel prescription for right living, stand those self-promoting and acting above everyone else so to attain their own comfort and convenience. Not only do such people place their eternal salvation in peril, but their mortal lives are marked by increasing dissatisfaction and disappointment. For such people, it is as though there never is enough for them. Always craving more than they have they are progressively unsettled, unfulfilled and ultimately unhappy.
Jesus reveals this does not have to be!
Those daring to forget themselves, sincerely seeking to benefit others and pursuing other’s well-being, find deep meaning and discover real happiness in daily living, and prepare themselves for the inexhaustible joy of heaven.
Christian life is based on self-denial. Who is a Christian? One placing Jesus at the center of their lives, the defining feature of their ordinary experience.
To make this clear, Jesus looks to the family, the universal building block of all peoples and cultures. Jesus commands, however, that not even the bonds connecting child to father and mother or parent to child can be permitted to come before one’s attachment to God.
This does not mean that the bonds between parents and children are lessened in importance in Christian living. For sure, the command to love must be lived in the home. However great the bonds of true family affection may be, the bond uniting the Christian to God must be greater. Jesus does not diminish proper love for one another, but shows how supremely important the bond between God and His followers always remains.
The loss of self in love hardly leads to misery. Our own experience validates that such a life-style produces lasting fulfillment and joy in this life .Jesus further reveals that it also will produce eternal love and joy (v. 39).
It is the way we place others before ourselves, caring for them in the little and large things, that we truly welcome Jesus. And in welcoming Jesus, we welcome the One who sent Him.