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The Word, The Truth

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As Luke continues with the travel account, he proceeds, after the banquet etiquette talk of Jesus, showing Jesus’ progress on his journey to Jerusalem with the crowds following him, speaking now about the conditions of real discipleship (Lk 14:25-33). Three conditions were given (vv 26,27&33) and twin parables to emphasize the seriousness demanded by the conditions (vv28-32).

The first condition (v26) seems too harsh. The Greek word is μισέω (miseō), with the exclusive sense of “hate”, literally indicating animosity towards people, God, or particular attitudes in the majority of texts (about forty times in NT). To hate is too negative and some explain it to mean as non-literal, or a “semitism”, that is, an expression which should be understood simply as giving parents second place in one’s affection. Thus Matthew puts it less radically: “loves father…more than me…”(10:37). But the condition remains, that it calls for a willingness to put parents, family, relatives, and Luke added, even one’s own life, in subordination to discipleship. The second condition (v27) calls the disciple to carry his cross behind Jesus, (cf 9:23-27 where it is an act of self-denial), continuing the first condition, the hating of one’s “own life”, for it may even lead to a destiny similar to that which Jesus will face in Jerusalem. The third condition (v33) calls for a radical renunciation of all one’s material possessions, one of the Lucan themes in the gospel, (cf 12:13).

The proceeding parables (vv28-32) present the seriousness demanded by the three conditions. Jesus counsels the followers not to decide on discipleship without advanced, mature self-probing. One must consider not only the demands to be made but also the consequences of what may only be begun and be left half-done because of a lack of follow-through. Ridicule or surrender to unconditional terms should deter one from rash and unreflective decisions.

This Sunday’s liturgy gives us the occasion to pause and think: how much do we esteem Jesus to whom we give our allegiance; are we capable of making a radical and painful decision to set all natural, human relations behind the connection with Jesus and even to give up life itself? Ours is not a comfortable religion tailor-made for Sunday rituals only. To take it seriously is to “hate” everything and everyone that keep us from following Jesus and carrying our cross.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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