The Cost of Discipleship

“The Cost of Discipleship”
A reflection on Luke 14:25-33; 13:24
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
©️2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:25-33

“Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

Luke 13:24

The Narrow Door

The key that opens the narrow door to heaven is cruciform. Like the doorposts and lintels of the Israelite houses during the Exodus,1 the gate to heaven is marked with the blood of the Lamb.2 Disciples likewise follow the Lamb through the narrow door by loving God above all else.3 

Counting the Cost

Dousing the ardor of the multitude, Jesus warns them of the difficulties ahead. As tower builders and kings size up their resources, disciples count the cost of following their crucified Lord. Instead of worldly acclaim and comfort, disciples expect sacrifice, suffering, and tribulations.

“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

Mark 10:29-30

Steep is the price and costly the corps
To follow Christ through the narrow door.


1 Exodus 12:7; 22-23

2 Matthew 26:28; Mark 10:38; 14:24; Luke 22:20; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:9; 6:3; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 9:14; 10:19; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 5:9.

3 Revelation 14:4.

Related posts:

The Narrow Gate
The Tower of the Spirit
Lose It All, Gain It All
Paradox of Peace

2 Replies to “The Cost of Discipleship”

  1. Dear Gloria, your reflection reminds me that the Lord never said that it would be easy, but instead that it would be worth it! Thank you for another reflection that removes us from our comfort zone and makes us ponder Truth. And in that we find our freedom. May Our Lady of China bless our journey towards Christ.

    1. Thank you, Fabienne. The Cross is not comfortable, but life-giving and transformative. What’s the alternative? “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

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