Pastor's Desk: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Welcome everyone to our Mass today and a special warm welcome to any visitors we have on this All Ireland Hurling Final day. Whether you are from Clare or Cork, we hope you enjoy your stay among us and that both teams give us a great game!
Looking at today’s Gospel there is one section that leaps out at us for explanation. It is the part which says; “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” To be more precise, there is one word that hits us, that word “hate”. Is Jesus really telling us to hate our father, mother, brother or sister? The first thing to be said is that we are translating from another language into English and so like all translations, there is never a perfect transfer of meaning. Something always gets lost. In this instance Jesus is making a statement about the discipline required to be His follower. It is not for the faint hearted or those who are fair weather followers. Jesus gives the example that the call to discipleship cannot be relegated to second place in our lives. We remember the young man who said to Jesus he would follow him everywhere but first let him go and bury his father. Jesus said to him, “Once your hand is laid on the plough no one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Many people have turned from their faith in our families and community. Many will be able to give reasons why, usually citing the poor living out of the Gospel by Jesus’ followers in the past. Jesus call is to each one of us as an individual now. We have to be strong enough to face the challenges of being a person of Faith despite the lack of support or similar faith in our family or community. That is what makes discipleship a radical decision today. We are going against the tide. We are not asked to “hate” but to witness even among our own.