THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
Today’s gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Yesterday we saw how those invited to the great feast declined
to go, because they had to attend to family or to work. Because
these are often the excuses of good people why they cannot
more fully respond to the call to discipleship, Jesus today
speaks bluntly. “If any one 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.” (Lk
notice that being a disciple of Jesus is one’s option
or choice. Jesus calls us, but it is up to us to respond.
He does not force us, even though this is the most important
thing in his heart, for us to go to him, and he knows this
is the best thing for us.
IF we do come to him, then, knowing our attachment to family
(and to work), he then tells us to “hate” the
relatives closest to us. This is shocking, but we need to
understand that in Semitic usage, to “hate” just
means to “love less.” In other words, Jesus is
our highest and greatest priority, and following him demands
total dedication and commitment. Nothing, not even the important
aspects of family and work, which are God’s gifts to
us, can or should be at the same level. God first, everything
When people meet Christ and truly
get to know Christ, they usually experience an emotional high.
But after meeting and starting to know Christ, one is then
called upon to live Christ, that
is, to become his disciple, to strive to be like him, to follow
in his footsteps. So Jesus says, if you want to come
to me, know what the cost will be. It will not just be an
emotional high. It will not just be roses, but will be thorns
as well. So have a realistic assessment of the hardships and
costs (Lk 14:28-32).
fact, Jesus points us to the cross. “Whoever does not
carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
(Lk 14:27). Now the cross is a fixture of Christian life.
Jesus on the cross is in our churches, on our rosaries, in
art and statues. But it has become so commonplace that it
has lost its true meaning for many Christians. Many even wear
crosses just as a chic adornment or accessory. So we know
Jesus went to the cross, but we are not aware that we too
are to take up our own cross. When we truly follow
Jesus, especially as we start to share Christ,
we can expect opposition, oppression and persecution. There
will be suffering and pain. Even as we “hate”
those closest to us, we will see that it would actually be
our closest relatives who will misunderstand, oppose and actually
hate us for what we say or do.
everyone is faced with a hard choice. Even as one desires
to follow Jesus, thinking he can just add to the many blessings
he already has, he finds out that it becomes a choice between
Jesus and family, between Jesus and work or livelihood. In
fact, it becomes a choice between Jesus and everything else.
“In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce
all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14:33).
We are to renounce all that is near and dear to us, so that
what is left is only Jesus.
Such is the call of the Kingdom. Such is the work of the Kingdom.
Such is the importance of disciples, who by their lives will
witness to Jesus, and who by their labors will bring in the
harvest. It will be extremely difficult and challenging work,
with great opposing forces. We must know what we are getting
into, we must be willing not just to give our time,
talent and treasure, but to give up everything for
the sake of Jesus. If so, then we can present ourselves to
Jesus, saying, I do want to come to you, I do want to serve
you, I will follow you all the way, even to the cross.
to the New Evangelization. God bless you all.