Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

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Gospel Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,

and he turned and addressed them,

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,

wife and children, brothers and sisters,

and even his own life,

he cannot be my disciple….”

Jesus the Christ really does layout the requirements for discipleship here in the strongest of terms. Christianity, typically thought of today as a holding hands and get along philosophy, really is quite radical. In hating father and mother, how can that fit in with Christian love? With Christ nothing comes before His message, one cannot be Christian and something else, and one cannot follow only the pleasant parts of discipleship. Why such a harsh message? I think perhaps Jesus knew the challenges His disciples faced then, and are facing now. He knew that these disciples need every bit of that Christian message to combat His opponent. The disciple cannot weaken their position simply because others are certainly going to take on that role. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on a television, listen to a commentary and you will hear those that try and dilute that message. You can hear the opposition as part of everyday dialogue. How especially true is that on this day, the day after Election Day! For months the faithful have been bombarded by all sorts trying to gain their vote, all sorts have tried to sway their opinion. All sorts have tried to win them over. Many of them have tried to pull them away from Christ, some obvious in their intentions and others stealthily. Of course this antagonistic tension is not limited to the political arena, it takes place in the home environment, the work environment, and among peers. It is the battles of cultures, and the battles within cultures. Some are the friendlier sides battling for the same soul that Christ fought for. There too are those that are blatant in their opposition of Christ. The point then is that in following Christ, one should be aware of all that tugs in the opposite direction; and those tugs can be subtle or severe. Discipleship is not easy, it is challenging and requires that a person challenge all that is around them. In coming after Christ, one indeed must leave much behind.

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