Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Triumph of the Holy Cross

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“Anyone who does not carry his cross …” 

Jesus had one great goal in life, to carry out the work his Father had given him, and to that end he single-mindedly gave his whole life. The Gospel of Luke presents Jesus as resolutely heading for Jerusalem. According to today’s Gospel passage, great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way. He knew what awaited him there: suffering, rejection and death, and so he spoke to the crowds about the cost of discipleship, about the heavy price to be paid for being a follower of his way. He expects the same sort of dedication and single-mindedness from his disciples. They too must be ready, if needs be, to sacrifice the dearest things in life.

 It is in this context that we can understand what it means to be told to “hate” your parents and children – it is a Semitic way of telling us to put things into perspective, to get our priorities right. It is another way of saying that the demands of the kingdom values of truth, justice, peace and love should have priority in our lives. Quite simply, Jesus asks for genuine commitment to the kingdom of God.

Through the two parables that follow, he urges his would-be disciples to consider where they stand. He wants more than sporadic enthusiasm or casual acquaintance. The following of Christ is a serious business. This is particularly true in those parts of the world where Christians are being persecuted for their faith. It is also true in our own situation, where Christians are called upon to renounce much that is taken for granted by others.