Posted September 8, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

Sayings on Discipleship

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:25-33

For because many of those that accompanied Him followed not with their whole heart, but lukewarmly, He shows what kind of a man his disciple ought to be. But it may be asked, how are we bid to hate our parents and our relations in the flesh, who are commanded to love even our enemies? But if we weigh the force of the command we are able to do both, by rightly distinguishing them so as both to love those who are united to us by the bond of the flesh, and whom we acknowledge our relations, and by hating and avoiding not to know those whom we find our enemies in the way of God. For he is as it were loved by hatred, who in his carnal wisdom, pouring into our ears his evil sayings, is ignored. For if for your sake the Lord renounces His own mother, saying, “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” why do you deserve to be preferred to your Lord? But the Lord will have us neither be ignorant of nature, nor be her slaves, but so to submit to nature, that we reverence the Author of nature, and depart not from God out of love to our parents.

Now to show that this hatred towards relations proceeds not from inclination or passion, but from love, our Lord adds, “yes, and his own life also.” It is plain therefore that a man ought to hate his neighbor, by loving as himself him who hated him. For then we rightly hate our own soul when we indulge not its carnal desires, when we subdue its appetites, and wrestle against its pleasures. That which by being despised is brought to a better condition, is as it were loved by hatred. But life must not be renounced, which both in the body and the soul the blessed Paul also preserved, that yet living in the body he might preach Christ. But when it was necessary to despise life so that he might. finish his course, he counts not his life dear to him.

References:
Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Commentary on Luke, Sermon CV (St. Cyril of Alexandria)
Homiliae in Evangelia #37 (St. Gregory the Great)
Explanations on the New Testament (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)
Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Luke (St. Ambrose of Milan)


FLL Editorial Team