As I sat in church this morning listening to the Gospel, I was a little confused. I hadn't read the readings before mass as I often do, so I was surprised when I heard things like "Hating your parents" in the Gospel! What?!?!?!? That can't be right!
Here is the Gospel, in case you have forgotten:
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.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
He's talking about the cost of discipleship -- and, although he's comparing it to the cost (financially) of building things, I think if we dig deeper, what he's getting at is how much does it cost us to follow Jesus? He's challenging us with his words!
Father Tom touched on this in his homily this morning -- talking about how easy it is for us to say we love our friends and family, but how difficult it can be to love (or even just include) that person that isn't one of us.
I wonder if my jaw dropped when he started talking about this. I try really hard in my life to be the person who includes all. After all, I've been that person that's been left out, or talked about, and frankly, I didn't enjoy it very much.
Recently, I have been focusing my efforts on gaining acceptance for someone that I feel has been ostracized from not just one group, but many. They do not know that I have been doing this, and hopefully will not find out. I'm trying to bring this person at least into my fold, so that they know they are comfortable there. I realize that I cannot change the world, or change how others think or feel, but I am working to try to get some to change their views. Is this person perfect? No, not at all. Do they have their flaws? They most certainly do. But it's ok, because I do, too.
I don't tell you this story so that you will think I am a hero (because I'm not). I tell you this story because you probably have someone in your life that could stand a little of your attention. I challenge you to do the same. What can it hurt?
I read a very interesting quote the other day. I don't know that I think that it applies to me in this situation, but it may to you. No matter which, I really enjoyed it and want to share it:
You have never really lived until you have done something for somebody who can never repay you.
Wow!!! Awesome thought. Have a good week, everyone.