Reading 1 Phil 2:12-18
Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14
Gospel Lk 14:25-33
In Jesus’ day Jews used hyperbole as a figure of speech to forcefully make a point. What Jesus is saying is that in the hierarchy of love, priority must always be given to the disciple’s relationship with Jesus. The hyperbole in Jesus’ words emphasizes the radical demands of discipleship. Fr. Charles Miller puts it this way: “The point which [Jesus] wanted to make was that no one may be allowed to turn us away from him, even if that person is someone who is very close to us. Jesus must come first in our lives.”
Paul in the first reading is saying pretty much the same thing. He looks about himself and sees the early Christians living in the midst of a “twisted and depraved generation.” He urges the Philippians to prove themselves innocent and straightforward, children of God beyond reproach. They are therefore in every situation in which they find themselves, to be true to God and Jesus, to live out in their lives the commands given them by God through Jesus.
Today we might admit that we, too, live in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation. Materialism and consumerism rule our generation. Marriage and the family are constantly under attack. Respect for the sanctity of human life: very few seem to have any interest in it.
In the midst of this sad situation, we are to let our personal love for Jesus manifest itself in our dedication to the values with which he wants to rule the world.