After my first year of university, my parents took me to buy a new car. I had my sights set on a brand-new vehicle, which I instantly fell in love with when I took it for a test drive. I was ready to buy it that instant, but my parents said we needed to wait. We went home, started asking for quotes for insurance, figuring out car payments, and things like that. It quickly became apparent that with my limited income as a university student, I would not have been able to afford payments on that car after a few months. I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to get my “dream car,” but I realized that my parents were right in making me stop and look honestly at the situation I would be placing myself in. In the end, we ended up finding a used car that was much more affordable and served me well for many years. In fact, I kept that car until I left New Mexico to join the Basilians.
I am reminded of this occurrence as I read Jesus’ words in the Gospel about counting the cost of discipleship. Jesus’ words in the Gospel are about far more than money, though. That’s why Jesus speaks about hating father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even life itself. However, it is important to note that Jesus is not calling us to “hate” in the worldly sense, or as we might commonly understand hate. If we look at the parallel story in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” In other words, Jesus is saying that to truly be a disciple, our loyalty to Jesus must come before all else.
This commitment to Jesus might put us at odds family and friends, or even our own desires and wishes. When Jesus instructs us to “count the cost,” he is asking us to detach ourselves from relationships and possessions, so that we can fully experience the love of God in our lives. When we do this, we often find that we experience the love of our family and friends in new and more profound ways. I have been blessed to experience this type of love countless times in my own life, even though the path is sometimes very difficult to traverse.
This week, I invite you to spend some time in prayer, and to ask God to help you to consider the cost of your own discipleship, and to give you the grace to become detached from the things that keep you from experiencing the fullness of his love.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB