Todays’ gospel seems a hard one to understand it seems very harsh and doesn’t seem to make sense. Jesus speaking to His disciples says:
‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
How can we put Jesus before those we love the most? Our mothers and fathers and our sons and daughters? Our families? We have to remember who Jesus is, and what his mission is. He is the Son of God and He has come to bring us back to His Father, our creator, It might be better to put these words in context, Jesus is talking to his disciples about their mission, He knows it’s going to be tough for them, they are going to be persecuted and murdered because of His message, the disciples have to be single minded and focused. He knows he is going to be killed by the authorities who see him as a threat and He knows what effect this is going to have on Peter and the disciples, they are going to run away and desert Him.
But this isn’t just a message for the disciples, this is also a message for us today. When we look at the world and see the many areas where our faith is in conflict with the message of society we must stand firm. This all sounds very confrontational “anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” But we have to remember that our Lords first commandment is to “Love”. Everything must come out of our love for God and love for our neighbour. When the teachings of the church disagree with the teachings of society we have a duty to stand up and say that society is wrong, but we have to do this with compassion and love. It is our responsibility to know and understand the teachings of our faith and then live them, and when our faith teaches us that society is wrong on such issues as euthanasia, same sex marriage and abortion then we must say so, but with patience, compassion and love. St Peter teaches us “Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;” Being Christian isn’t taking the easy path, this is why Jesus says that we must take up our cross with Him, but the truth will not die and we have to live that truth and beauty in a world that truly needs it.