Give me ten truly detached men. and I will convert the world with them. - St. Philip Neri: (1515 –1595: known as the Apostle of Rome, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory)
Gospel Text: (LK 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.
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.”
What about Christianity and family values?
Jesus says that whoever comes to him to be a disciple should hate his own family and even himself. But I do not hate my family.
I think what Jesus is really saying is that putting anything before God is the wrong answer. Putting your family before God or putting your own interests before God is not going to get you where you want to go.
Jesus says in today’s gospel reading that a builder calculates his plan and expenses to make sure he can accomplish his construction. A king has a battle plan and calculates his chances of success. Our goal is not a building or a battle victory. Our goal is heaven. And to get to heaven, we need the focus of a site manager or a battle general. The manager who gets distracted and does not keep focused on the building might not have a construction that will be sturdy and stand. The king who gets distracted and does not focus on his goals will lose his battle. If we get distracted and lose this battle, the ramifications are eternal. If we put anything before God, our edifice might crumble; we will not gain our victory. Our goal will slip away.