In preparation for Sunday's Gospel it is never too late to take anm in-depth look at what Saint Luke has in store for us. Jesus begins his monologue to the crowd by saying, “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.” You can just imagine the members of the crowd looking confused and saying, “Hate? Hate my father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters? Sure, they’re annoying, but I don’t hate them.”
But Jesus isn’t talking about hate in the sense of intense anger or strong hostility. No, he’s setting up a love-hate dichotomy that’s more like the loyalty we have toward our favorite sports team. If a person says, “I love the Mets and hate the Yankees,” they are saying that they are a committed Mets fan and will always support them over the Yankees. Their love for the Mets is unshakable, steadfast, eternal and, daresay, irrational. They’ll always be the favorite team, win or lose.
When this fan says, “I hate the Yankees,” they are really saying they could never, ever support Yankees. Not in a million years. They doesn’t know any of the players personally, so they couldn’t honestly say they feels anger or hostility toward them. If a sports fan spills over into this kind of intense emotion, it’s time to turn off the television and seek professional help.
So Jesus is saying, “If you want to be my disciple, I’m Number One!” He wants us to be committed to him over any other team of fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers or sisters. If Jesus pulls you one direction and your family pulls you another, Jesus is saying, “Follow me.”