Discipleship includes suffering and dying as well as rising
by Sister Laura Zelten
Often in Scripture the images of Jesus are pleasant, kind and gentle -- the Good Shepherd, the healer, and the kind teacher of children. But Sunday’s Gospel is a bit sobering. Jesus talks about the baptism he will undergo and the anguish he will experience. What could he possibly mean by these destructive words and images?
To be a disciple is to be inflamed with the love of God. It is to have an unquenchable desire for holiness and zeal for the mission of Jesus. However, his mission can cause division among families and communities (Luke 12:51). Jesus calls us to follow him; if we decide to follow then our lives will be changed, perhaps in ways we might not welcome. This is the cost of discipleship.
The choice to embrace and welcome the call is ours. If we say “yes” then we, too, will be called to live the paschal mystery—suffering, dying and rising with Jesus. It is through our baptism that we are made new. The life-giving Spirit encourages us to open ourselves to the transforming message of Jesus and share it with the world.