Sunday, September 4, 2016
Reflection: Luke 14:25-33
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Luke 14:25-33
The Gospel for today can be a difficult one to understand. Jesus once again was on the road with his disciples and great crowds were following him. At one point, Jesus turned to the crowds and addressed them. He said: “If anyone comes to me who does not hate his father and mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, and even his or her own life, he or she cannot be my disciple.” Jesus then adds: “Whoever does not carry his or her cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
These are extremely strong words! Did Jesus truly mean that we are to hate our parents, brothers, sisters, children and friends? Or is Jesus telling us that if we choose to follow him we need to realize that Jesus needs to be first in our lives? Jesus is making a very clear and strong point. Our primary allegiance always needs to be to Jesus. Jesus is not saying that we cannot or should not love and care for our families and our friends. He realizes that we have committed ourselves to our families and we need to live out that commitment.
Rather, Jesus is telling his listeners what is essential. First and foremost, Jesus must be first in our lives. However, Jesus also wants us to love and care deeply for our family, our friends and for the world community. Today may we strive to love each person we encounter: the person we pass in the grocery store, a co-worker who is struggling, or an individual we simply do not like. The quality of love that Jesus hopes we will have for one another surpasses the simple notion of liking another person. Rather, Jesus hopes that we truly will love every person in our world. This may sound impossible. However, with Jesus’ grace and love, we have the ability to do this. Will we choose to do this?