In today’s Gospel Our Lord presents the need to renounce the two most precious things in our life in order to be able to successfully follow him: our family and our life as it stands without him. If he calls us to follow him, it means putting other things on hold and embracing sacrifice and difficulty for something greater. When he teaches us today to hate our family and life as it stands he does not mean abandoning them or harming them; he means practicing a healthy detachment from them where God’s will comes first because God knows best and wants the best for everyone, including those we love.
If we don’t form this healthy detachment he warns us we may not have the spiritual resources to finish what we started or to succeed. He uses two images: a construction project discontinued for lack of funds, and a battle lost for not have sufficient forces to win or the foresight to seek a diplomatic solution instead. Everyone wants to build something with their life; Our Lord wants us to build a life with him, and he knows that requires the spiritual resources that only come from detachment, sacrifice, and discernment. Our life is a battle at times, a struggle to succeed, and detachment, sacrifice, and discernment are what enable us to succeed in what truly matters: love for God and love for others.
Let’s examine our lives today with the Lord’s help and see whether anything in our lives might be preventing us from being the success he wants us to be.
Readings: Romans 13:8–10; Psalm 112:1b–2, 4–5, 9; Luke 14:25–33. See also 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday.