Gospel of Luke 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
We are all called to be disciples. Jesus says in Scripture that he wants us to follow Him and be His disciples. This Gospel Reading gives the disciples of Jesus instruction. I have always wondered about Jesus telling His disciples, "If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters,and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." When I was growing up, family was really important and it seemed very unfair that Jesus would say this to His disciples. But then, I didn't really worry too much about it, because... in my mind, He wasn't talking to me. But now I know better... He is talking to me! So what is He telling me?
I think Jesus is telling me that there is more to family than just loving my immediate family. He wants me to love God's family --to broaden my narrow minded thinking of family only being Father, Mother, children, brothers, sisters and self.
My daughter plays volleyball. The sport of volleyball is a team sport, not an individual sport. So, one of the first things the girls learn, is that they are part of a team (the coach even goes as far as to call them a family). A good coach even steps outside of the circle of the team of girls and brings in the parents to be a part of this family, helping them to understand the ins and outs of the sport so the parents help build up the girls into the players they will become. It is a beautiful thing to see everyone working together to make tournaments into family excursions, where everyone has a job and puts aside their wants and needs to help the team to have a successful tournament. (For example, a parent that has van duty and drops off the players and coach, sacrifices being there in time for the game. Or a parent that has to leave a game to go get food for the team during the tournament.) Then there is even more... when all the people in the community come and watch the games and cheer for the team, they become part of the family. This is what I think Jesus is trying to tell me. To go beyond myself and to share the love of Christ with all that He puts in my path.
PAPA, Priest Always Prayer Apostolate is very much like this, where our Mission is to "Go and make disciples of all nations; behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18,20) We are an extended family, helping each other to be disciples for Jesus by carrying out our Duty to Pray for Priests every day, Give the Prayer for Priests to kindred souls, and Asking kindred souls to pray for Priests and to discern becoming a member.
We are all called to be disciples of Jesus Christ and broaden our vision of what family means to us. When and where are you going to carry out this calling? If you would like to learn more about PAPA, please email us at PAPA@PAPAMio.org or leave a comment at the end of the reflections page. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.
God bless you.