Another sweet invitation from Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Another irresistible invitation to Christian discipleship. A little strong, perhaps, but why not engage in “hyperbolic expression so as to underscore the great cost of discipleship”? This is a frequent interpretation of this passage. “God never promised us a rose garden.” Well, yes, but…
The truth is that Jesus invites (in)to the mystery of His life, which is beyond any cost calculation, which is beyond comprehension. And, He invites us as we are: with our bruised hearts and tired bodies and fragile relationships and limited hopes. The invitation, although it may seem so, is not about heroism. It is about surrender, in which we recognize our inability to respond well. St. Dominic Savio (+1857) says: “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God”. Saint Dominic Savio is the youngest non-martyr to be recognized officially as a saint in the Roman part of the Church, a holy companion for whomever may wish. Known for his intense devotion and faithful prayer, he died at age of 14 from Pleurisy, in Mondonio, Italy.
Jesus does indeed extend a strong invitation to follow Him, strong because divine love is absolute. When St. Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 5 to “be followers of God, as dear children”, he tells us to “walk in love”. In the end, once again (thank God!), it is about love. It is about surrendering to “a God who simply loves and can do nothing else, a God who never stops seeking us” (Brother Roger Schutte of Taizé)
Yours in Christ,