The 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C - Luke 14:25-33
Jesus tells the crowds two short stories to explain what being a disciple means, and to show us that if we want to follow him we must give up everything. The first story is about a man who wants to build a tower. He must work out the cost to make sure he has enough money and resources to finish the job. The second story is about a king who is going to war. He must first count his soldiers and resources to make sure he can win the battle.
Jesus makes it very clear that being a disciple and following Jesus is not easy. We too must be prepared to count the cost. These tricky sayings and parables of Jesus make an obvious point—don't start what you cannot finish. Discipleship is difficult and is something we can commit to only if we are prepared to put the Kingdom of God before everything else. We do this by the choices we make every single day.
We must also “carry our cross” which means accepting the things we find difficult in our lives and asking for God's help in these things. These difficult things might be people we find it hard to get on with, lessons in school that we find boring or wanting something we can't have. It might be not having enough to eat or even living somewhere where there is violence.
When Jesus describes “hating” one's father and mother, he is not talking about feelings for our parents. He is simply emphasising very strongly that choosing to be a disciple means that everything else—family, money, and even your own life—must come second. He isn't telling us to hate our family members. He uses that expression to explain that we can't love anyone or anything more than Him if we really want to follow Him. By loving Jesus and following His ways, our love for others in our world will shine out from us in all our thoughts and all our actions!
For more reflections and thoughts on how we can live out the Gospel please see our Chaplaincy page.