Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
If we read today’s first reading (Rom 13: 8-10), Paul centers us in a simple yet radical mission of love. Jesus’ words in the Gospel, therefore, seem contradictory, albeit radical.
St. Ignatius might coach us through this Gospel passage with a dose of indifference. Like indifference, Jesus’ demand to hate our parents is not cold apathy, as it sounds, but rather an invitation to discern the areas of our lives that hinder God’s work in us. Jesus and Ignatius urge our detachment from those things, which could be possessions, relationships, goals, habits, attitudes, anxieties, beliefs, etc. In detaching, we find freedom to collaborate with God.
Jesus knows it won’t be easy. A radical mission of love is just that – radical. So it will be met with resistance and obstacles – crosses. Are you ready to let go of what you cling to so God can work through you? Will you pick up your cross and follow Jesus in this radical mission of love?
—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.
Jesus, help me to better understand your difficult message today so I can follow you more closely. Please show me where in my life I need to let go in order to be a disciple who is centered in your love and open to God’s work in me.
—Amy KetnerPlease share the Good Word with your friends!