Ordinary Time, Week 23: The Lord’s Day

“If any one 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.” (Luke 14:26.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass:

“The Lord gives the signal for us to stand guard in camp and to build the tower from which we may recognize and ward off the enemy of our eternal life. The heavenly trumpet of Christ urges the soldier to battle, and his mother holds him back.

What does she say or what argument does she give? Perhaps is it those ten months when you lay in her womb and the pangs of birth and the burden of rearing you? You must kill this with the sword of salvation. You must destroy this in your mother that you may find her in life eternal. Remember, you must hate this in her if you love her, if you are a recruit of Christ and have laid the foundations of the tower. Passers by may not say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” That is earthly affection. It still has the ring of the “old man.” Christian warfare invites us to destroy this earthly affection both in ourselves and in our relatives. Of course, no one should be ungrateful to his parents or mock the list of their services to him, since by them he was brought into this life, cherished and fed. A man should always pay his family duty, but let these things keep their place where higher duties do not call.

Mother church is also the mother of your mother. She conceived you both in Christ. Know that her Spouse took human flesh that you might not be attached to fleshly things. Know that all the things for which your mother scolds you were undertaken by the eternal Word that you might not be subject to the weakness of flesh. Ponder his humiliations, scourging and death, even the death of the cross.” (Leter 243)

O God,
by Whom we are redeemed and receive adoption,
look graciously upon Your sons and daughters,
that those who believe in Christ
may receive true freedom
and an everlasting inheritance.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen