Today’s gospel calls to mind a statement by Jesuit Father and social activist Daniel Berrigan that has always challenged me: “If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

Like many, I find it difficult to get too close to Jesus’ cross, let alone carry my own crosses or those of others. This is the tough stuff of faith. But it’s also the heart of faith. Discipleship is a gift that bears ultimate joy, but there is a cost.

After commissioning the twelve disciples, Jesus makes two things clear: they will face persecution, but they will be saved if their faith endures to the end.

I envy the first disciples. Not only because they had direct experience of Jesus, but because they were so on fire with faith that they risked being rejected and even killed to share God’s love with the world. Following Jesus then and now is risky business, especially when we truly live out our faith.

Today, let’s name some ways we can put our faith into action, even at the risk of being countercultural, or at the very least uncomfortable. And let’s trust that we don’t walk alone!

—Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.