Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 5, 2010
Wisdom 9: 13 – 18
Philemon 9 – 10, 12 – 17
Luke 14: 25 – 33
In the Gospel read for this Sunday Mass, Jesus makes clear to all who choose to listen that He requires certain conditions if a person wishes to be His follower.
They are demanding and formidable and yet, they are not impossible. Christ asks that all who follow Him be willing to accept hardships and difficulties; that all who follow Him consider what is being asked and be willing to make the necessary changes in one’s life; to undergo a conversion so that what each one owns or possesses will not be a stumbling block to his being a faithful follower of Jesus; to be willing to live a simple life style and to give generously to the poor.
But perhaps the most difficult of all to understand and to accept are the words “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.”
How are we to understand this? Does Jesus really want us to hate anyone? The principal difficulty with the text is to be found in the English translation. Jesus spoke Aramaic, and the proper translation of this particular passage should be understood in the way: not hating anyone but rather choosing someone over another.
Christ is telling us: we are not to place anyone or anything before God. God is to be first in my life; God is to be at the center of my life. Understood in this way, this command of Jesus is one which can be accepted.
And so the sincere follower of Christ will, from time to time, examine his conscience in this regard and ask himself: is there someone in my life more important than God? Is there something in my life more important than God?
May the Graces offered to us during this Holy Mass make it possible for each one of us to put Christ first; to place Him at the center of life.