In our Catholic parish, the Gospel reading for Sunday, Sept. 4th was from Luke 14:25-33. This passage has been, through recent centuries, probably the most difficult to explain to the average layman. Our pastor did the best he could–he changed the subject to the sacrifice of Maximillian Kolbe who volunteered to be executed by the Nazis in place of the father of a large family. Perhaps some of the biblical experts who use this Forum could address this topic head on, instead of dodging the issue.
Jesus makes it clear that the Call to Discipleship involves great human sacrifice. That’s understandable. To ‘take up one’s cross and follow Him’ one must put Him above material things–above one’s father, mother and children (Matt. 18: 8,9)–above life itself. Strong stuff, but believable. But to declare that, to be a true disciple, we must hate our families is an ugly distortion of the truth. Or is it? Matt. 12:48 seems to advise cutting one’s self from family ties is a part of discipleship. A ‘Google exegesis’ suggests that the word “hate” in the original passage from Luke could have meant “preferred over”. If that is so, why haven’t the modern biblical translations been brought up to date?
Several times in the past my agonistic/atheist colleagues have challenged me with: "How can you profess to be a Christian when your Scripture states………? And then they quote passages that demonstrate that they have read the bible at least as much as I have. Whenever they have cited Luke 14;25-33 I have had to remain silent. Can anyone help me?