Living in this country and hearing these words from Jesus ‘If any one comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple, are difficult for us to comprehend. ‘Hate’ to our ears is a very strong word. We hate injustice, war, bullying and abuse but the word hate is not normally associated with those close to us. I know as little kids when we did something wrong and were told off about it, we could come out with that phrase, ‘I hate you’. Our pride was hurt, and it was the strongest thing we could think of to say in retaliation.
This Gospel comes up every year. We’ve heard it before. We know that Jesus is not telling us literally to hate all those near and dear to us. It would deny so many other things in the Scriptures including the 4th Commandment to honour one’s Father and Mother. And we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend. I hope the Dad’s among us will enjoy their special day and give thanks for the gift of fatherhood. We are called to love our parents, and those close to us and to love ourselves. We know the Great Commandment, ‘Love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbour as yourself. In fact, this commandment gives perspective to the words of the Gospel. Our love for God comes first, before all other attachments, both human and material.
Jesus is saying, put me first in your life. You are ‘my’ disciple. I am the one you follow. Listen to my voice, not the voices that drag you down and lead you to doubt my presence with you.
And Jesus does not beat around the bush, to follow him will demand of us a cost, as it did for him. He faced the cross and he asks us to take up our cross too. All of us here have experienced the hardships and challenges of life in one way or another, misunderstandings within our families, the clash of expectations they may have for us, ill health and grief, false judgements, and insecurity, the bad choices we’ve made and other have made affecting us. All these things can disturb, shake our confidence, and undermine our faith. How important it is for us at times like this to cry out as Jesus did, ‘take this cup from me. However, not my will but your will be done’. It calls for so much letting go and letting God.
Is God inviting you to let go and to trust him more?
You may like to read the Gospel passage from Luke 14:25-33.
I have chosen the song 'Mum and Dad' track 10 from 'Angel of the Forest' given that it is Father's Day and in thanksgiving for how our parents made sacrifices for us and responded to Christ' call to discipleship.
Blessings to all the Dad's today and for the week ahead.