In the Rite of Ordination of a Priest, as the bishop hands over the bread and wine to the newly ordained, he says to him, “Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” The first part of this exhortation was even stronger in the previous translation before 2003: “Know what you are doing…” We ask a similar question of parents when they present their infant for baptism: “Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?”
If you read today’s gospel too quickly, it may seem to suggest negotiating terms before following Christ, as if we can recalculate a better cost for ourselves based on our resources. However, the cost of discipleship is the same for everyone because, at some point, each of us will be asked to do or give something we don’t think we can afford.The cost of discipleship is the same for everyone because, at some point, each of us will be asked to do or give something we don’t think we can afford. Click To Tweet
That may be true forgiveness of an enemy, genuine welcome of a stranger, or letting go of comfort to live in solidarity with different from us. Whatever it is, it will cost everything.
The cost of discipleship is our entire being, completely oriented to Christ. Nothing less is enough. So know what you’re doing and understand what you are asking for, because on this way of the Gospel, there can be no holding back.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE, Unsplash, CC0.