Then Jesus said to his disciples in today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Matthew 16:21-27, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” With these words, Jesus emphasizes the demands of discipleship. Hence, in order for us to become true disciples of Christ, we have to:
Firstly, deny ourselves, which means have God be the center and focus of our lives and not letting ourselves, earthly attachments and desires distract us from focusing on God. Denying ourselves also means proving our faith and our fidelity to God by living out our Christian Catholic faith.
Secondly, in order for us to become true disciples of Christ, we have to take up and bear our crosses daily as Christians. Taking up our crosses means imitating Christ in his suffering and death and being able to endure the difficulties, trials, persecution, hardships and struggles that come our way when answering our call to discipleship and when we live out the gospel of Christ.
Thirdly, in order for us to become true disciples of Christ, we have to follow Him daily as his witnesses and true examples in the world. Following Christ entails listening/hearing His word, understanding His word, accepting His word and putting His word we have heard, understood and accepted into practice.

My dear brothers and sisters, are we really disciples of Christ? If we are disciples of Christ, have we truly and sincerely denied ourselves to have God be the center of our lives? Have we denied ourselves of earthly attachments and desires so as to focus more on God, stand firm in Him and have Him be in charge of our lives? Have we taken up our crosses daily as we witness to Christ in our world today? Are we wholeheartedly following Christ daily, preaching and living out His gospel?

It is time to come closer to God by denying ourselves and focusing on God, by taking up our crosses daily and by following Christ in answer to our call to discipleship.