Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
We are in 13th Sunday in ordinary time. Some of the expressions of Jesus in today’s Gospel seem to take some people by surprise. For instance this one: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”. Does this underestimate love for parents? Of course not. All that Jesus asks is this: every human relationship is to be lived in relation to Him. Jesus does not ask to “love less”: it is just the opposite. Every rapport between persons can find its foundation and protection only when it refers to Jesus. When Jesus says that he came to bring “not peace, but the sword” to earth, he refers to the need to heal the wounds of human nature and that of the violent or failed relationships. The suffering, caused due to the fragility of the emotional ties and the fractures of the bonds of love between man and woman, is known to everyone. That is why Jesus invites all, so that people may convert their relationships through His paschal mystery (Cross, Death and Resurrection), and that everything might be reborn in an absolutely new way – this includes also the love between parents and children, between husband and wife.
Accepting to carry the cross and to follow the path of Jesus is a necessary condition in order to be His disciples. Evidently, everyone of us is, first of all, a follower of Jesus and the dignity of it lies precisely in marching towards Him who is our Master, while shunning away from anything ungodly. The disciple, who is worthy of the Master, is the Christian who does not walk behind the idol of himself/herself or what emerges in his/her own time or in the dominant culture. That is why, it is better to lose such a life and surrender oneself to Jesus. In other words, it is better to spend one’s life for the cause of Jesus. The triple underlining of the expression: “He is not worthy of me”, recalls the triple question of Jesus put to Peter: “Do you love me more than all the others.” In effect, today’s Gospel asks everyone one of us to love the Lord “more” in order to love others. Jesus may not be loved, but He cannot be loved less than another person, otherwise He would not be the Lord.
Dear brethren, as we can realise, when God is given the first place, everything makes sense in love. If the desire for God is great, then the values of the Gospel are also within our reach. Primacy to God only enables our love for each other stronger and more meaningful.
In today’s Gospel Jesus draws the profile of His apostle who is sent in gratuitousness and poverty, giving him/her the freedom to carry the Cross, to offer his/her own life in order to find it fully. Such an apostle mirrors, in this way, the face of the Master himself. It is Jesus who is received in the person of the apostle because the apostle does the same work of the Lord: Salvation, because he/she is capable of a love that is greater than any other affection.
Let us love Jesus more so that we may be able to love our brothers and sisters truly.
Have a wonderful week ahead!