Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Disciples, Pick Up Your Crosses

The Gospel today seems to ask the disciples to hate their families. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  It sounds so much against the spirit and mood of Fathers’ Day, which is today.  Can you still honour fathers and the parental figures and be good Christians?

Family is fundamental to the Christian living.  After all, one of the Ten Commandments is to love and honour your mother and father.  Was Jesus going against this commandment?  Jesus himself did not hate his own family.  He did not mean his followers to hate their family either.  But he used such harsh language to make a point.  And that is, you need to dedicate your life to Christ Jesus even above your family ties.  Jesus demands a personal love from you, just like spouses do.   A couple truly in love with each other would not let their families or friends stand in the way of their love relationship.  It is not because the couple hate their mum and dad, but their love for each other is so intense that they cannot let even their otherwise dear ones to be in the way of their mutual relationship.  Such is the case with being consumed by the passion for Jesus Christ.

Sacrifices in life are difficult and irksome.  Only love can make it easy and bearable.  The more you love, the more you will be prepared to take up the crosses in your life for the sake of your beloved.

Living in a world of instant gratification, many people fail in their Christian living, because it has to be their way or highway.  Unwillingness to make total commitments is resulting in a decline of the religious practices.  Similarly the lack of preparedness to make sacrifices for the common good ends up in marriage breakdowns.  Committed lives make heaven on earth as well as in heaven.  The world needs to learn from you about the worth and joy of total commitment in faith life.  Therefore, don’t be half-way Christians.  Pick up your crosses for Christ’s sake.