Today's Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Jesus didn't go around contradicting Himself. He didn't preach love one day and hatred the next. Jesus did not tell His followers to hate their father and mother, spouse and children in the conventional sense of the word hate. His message of love didn't change. Jesus was making a point.
His followers must love Him above all else. Faithfulness to Our Lord must come first over pleasing a family member. As Jesus says in MT 10:37-38: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
The gospel reading today is a warning from Jesus to the crowds who were following Him. His followers could expect suffering. He wanted them to understand the difficulties of being His disciples so that they would be prepared and equipped to handle them. He wanted them to understand what they were signing on for.
Jesus uses the analogy of constructing the tower and the king marching into battle to underscore the importance of having all your facts straight and being prepared before beginning an endeavor. Otherwise the temptation to give up when faced with suffering and hardship may be too great. Jesus wants to make sure the disciples won't be blindsided later. It won't be a cake walk, so don't say I didn't warn you, he seems to say.
And again at the end of the reading Jesus emphasizes once more the importance of choosing Him above all else. We cannot be disciples of Christ if we are not willing to place Him above all else that we hold dear. Are our most valued possessions more important than our relationship with God?
Do I put Jesus above all else in my life? Is my faith more important to me than relationships with other people? Am I prepared to suffer rejection or loss for love of God? Am I too attached to my possessions?
Lord, bless me with the grace to always put You first in my life. Make me aware of my priorities in all my choices, words and actions. Grant me a closer relationship with You and a deeper understanding and love of my faith. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby
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