Answering the call to discipleship means loving God and loving God entails hearing the Word of God, accepting the Word of God we have heard, then living out and proclaiming the Word of God we have heard and accepted. This seems and sounds very easy yet very difficult to do. Of course by now we all know how difficult it is to answer the call to discipleship in our world today, that resists, attacks and rejects the gospel of Christ. Because of the difficulty of being a disciple of Christ in our world today, Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Matthew 10:37-42 that “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” These words of Jesus seems to be very strong and strange but they are very true and authentic. With these words, Jesus clearly points out to us that difficulties, hardships, struggles, suffering, rejection, persecution, criticism and pain will be encountered by His disciples when answering the call to discipleship, but when we take up our crosses and follow Him, we will surely overcome them and we will receive our reward in the end. Taking up our crosses and following Christ means loving God and sharing that love wherever we find ourselves. According to Pope Francis, “there is no true love without the cross, without a personal price to pay. When borne with Jesus, the cross is not scary because He's always at our side to help us.” So my dear friends in Christ, what crosses are we carrying in your lives today? How are we carrying those crosses daily? Are we carrying our crosses and still following Christ or have we given up because we feel overwhelmed or exhausted or feel like God is no longer with us?

As Christians we will face trials, persecution, criticism, rejection etc daily because of our belief in God. As human beings, we will also face the daily challenges of family issues, economic issues, health issues, psychological issues etc, but in those situations and moments, let us remember that nothing is impossible for God and if God is with us, who can be against us. Hence, let us take up our crosses and follow Christ. Let us strive to be true disciples of Christ as St. Paul in his letter to the Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 reminds us in today’s second reading by dying to sin so as to live out the gospel of Christ daily. Let us stand firm in God no matter what we encounter in life as Christians because we will surely not lose our heavenly reward when we truly answer our call to discipleship. Remember my brothers and sisters, with firmness of faith in God, perseverance and charity, we will overcome all and surely not lose our reward of heaven. Amen!