Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
This lesson begins with words from Jesus that are hard to hear. Is He really telling us that in order to follow Him we must hate our families? That’s not exactly what Jesus is saying, but sometimes we need to be shocked into hearing the truth.
Jesus never wants us to hate anyone, and He certainly isn’t advocating that we violate the Commandment to honor our mothers and fathers. He is making the point that in order to follow Him completely we must be willing to cut the ties that anchor us to our former lives. This is the truth about how difficult it may be to follow Christ in our world.
Jesus says we must be willing to carry our cross just as He did, able to bear suffering and humiliation if necessary for the sake of God’s kingdom. He wants us to know what is in store if we say yes to a relationship with Him, and understand the dedication needed to be His disciples.
Loving Lord, we are weak and sometimes afraid of the commitment You ask of us. Strengthen us with Your love and show us that while Your way is not easy, it is worth the cost. Amen.