Wednesday, 03 Nov – Are You A Disciple Or A Follower?

03 Nov – Memorial for St Martin de Porres, Religious

Martin (1579-1639) was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Juan, and a young freed black slave, Anna Velasquez. He grew up in poverty and spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber from whom he learned some medicine and care of the sick.

At the age of 11, he became a servant in the Holy Rosary Dominican priory in Lima, Peru. He was promoted to almoner and begged more than $2,000 a week from the rich to support the poor and sick in Lima. He was placed in charge of the Dominican’s infirmary, and was known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His superiors dropped the stipulation that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our order” and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother in 1603.

He established an orphanage and children’s hospital for the poor children of the slums. He set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. He lived in self-imposed austerity, never eating meat, fasting continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation with a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He was a friend of St. John de Massias.

He was venerated from the day of his death. May miraculous cures, including raising the dead, have been attributed to Brother Martin, the first black saint from the Americas.

– Patron Saint Index
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Philippians 2:12-18

My dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation ‘in fear and trembling.’ It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing. And then, if my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering-which is your faith I shall still be happy and rejoice with all of you, and you must be just as happy and rejoice with me.
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Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “‘ Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’
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None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions

When you hear the term “disciple of Christ”, what comes to mind? Some Christians will say that every Christian is a disciple of Christ. But when we read the Bible, we will find that this is an unfounded statement. There were many followers of Christ, many baptised in Christ’s name, but not everyone was a disciple of Christ. In fact, the gospel tells us that there were about 72 disciples (Luke 10:1) – those whom Jesus sent out to preach the Good News – and then there were 12 apostles, whereas there were hundreds of followers of Christ.

In today’s first reading, St. Paul writes to the Philippians who were not disciples of Christ. Rather, they were followers of Christ. They were Christians baptised in the name of Christ and lived in Christian communities, practising the values and teachings of Christ as taught to them by the disciples. This gives us a clue to who can be a disciple. A disciple of Christ is one who teaches the teachings and values of Christ to another.

In the gospel reading, Jesus speaks about discipleship and who can become His disciple. He makes a caveat – no one can be His disciple unless he first gives up all his possessions. Clearly then, not everyone is called to be a disciple of Christ, otherwise no Christian should own any possessions. The reason why Christ teaches this to the crowds is because many people were following Him and wanted to become His disciple. But it is not easy to become a disciple of Christ, so He warns them of the sacrifice that is needed to become His disciple.

This caveat is sure to put people off from becoming disciples of Christ, but just because we cannot give up all our possessions doesn’t mean we can’t be followers of Christ. Christ does not fault us for not being able to become His disciples. He knows the high price that a person must pay in order to be His disciple, and He knows that not everyone can pay the price. That’s why He warned the crowd, and He warns us, of what is needed to become His disciple.

Today, let us take some time to reflect on whether or not we call ourselves disciples of Christ, and whether or not we have taken up our cross, and given away all our possessions, to become His disciples. If not, then perhaps we might be content to call ourselves followers of Christ.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
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Prayer: Dear Lord, if you are calling me to be Your disciple, grant me the will and action to be one. If not, grant me the grace to accept my calling to be Your follower. Amen.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for those who have taken up their cross to be His disciple, to teach the Lord’s values and teachings to His followers.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 04 Nov – Philippians 3:3-8; Luke 15:1-10; Memorial for St Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Fri, 05 Nov – Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 16:1-8
Sat, 06 Nov – Philippians 4:10-19l Luke 16:9-15
Sun, 07 Nov – 2 Maccabees 7:1-2.9-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38; Thirty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time

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