Jesus teaches us a principle here that can be very difficult to appropriate when he tells us that we should fear the one who can ruin our soul far more the one who can merely take our mortal life. Basically, this is a call to martyrdom, or at least the call to be ready to martyr ourselves should it be necessary to preserve our faith from sin and the devil. The martyrs of the Church gave their mortal lives willingly when it came to a choice between renouncing life in its earthly form or their faith in Christ! I hope that none of us will be forced into similar invidious positions.

It may be helpful, however, to reflect upon the nature of our lives as they stand today and I think that we will find that we have plenty of opportunities to heed this call in a less dramatic but almost similarly difficult way. Each time we are tempted to sin we face the question as to whether we are willing to die to the pleasure and attractions of sin and take up the call to holiness, or will we give in to the sin? Perhaps we can see these situations as opportunities for little martyrdoms every day. It may be sober to reflect upon the fact that if we find it difficult to embrace these little martyrdoms, then how are we going to fare if the ultimate martyrdom comes our way. Let us pray to God that it will not come our way until we are ready and capable of making the right choice!

The saints often speak of the reality of having to make their choice to follow Christ again and again. It can be a costly choice. Sometimes it might mean stepping back from activities those with a less sensitive conscience; a less heightened sense of right and wrong may embrace. This is the cost of discipleship and we must be willing to pay it if we are to progress in holiness. Allowing the Gospel values to take root in our lives means willing to be different and to embrace a lifestyle that will be very distinct from that of the world. Are you willing to pay the price? Many have paid the price in the past and stand as testimony to the world of the higher calling of the human race. Are you willing to place your life along side theirs and witness the Gospel truth to this generation?

Have I ever experienced the cost of discipleship as something that bites deeply? If so, this is a good thing if I am willing to pay the price that is being asked of me.

Lord grant me the grace to open my heart to the fullness of the Gospel truth and so embrace a Christian way of life that will stand apart from the world while still being in the world. I pray that my life will compromise the truths of the Gospel.