The Old Testament is largely about family.  God is described as the God of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” and the stories are mostly about their children.  One of Abraham’s concerns is that he’s not going to be able to have any children, and having very large numbers of children is seen as a blessing.  Yet today, Jesus, who normally has a message of peace and love encourages us to hate our families.  Why?

The focus of the passage is on dedication, on the resources it might take to build a tower.  The tower is expensive, the war is expensive, and it’s worth considering if you can afford it before you start. Likewise, following Christ will be expensive, in its own way.  If it leads to division inside a biological family, then it’s still worth it.  The point is the new family that Christ is forming, the family of the Church.

I wish I could say that things are always peaceful inside that family, that everyone always gets along, that everyone always does the right thing.  Like many families, we fall short of what we should be.  And like the families in Jesus’ time, we can be divided on what God wants us to do.  It is tempting in those times to trade away our sense of Jesus’ mission for a kind of truce with our brothers and sisters or parents.  But we must never trade away our consciences like this.  Above everything else is our loyalty to Jesus Christ and who he has called us to be.  It is difficult to carry the cross, especially when it leads us into conflict with those we love and respect.  Yet we are devoted to higher ties than flesh and blood now, a baptism of water and a calling to be something better.  Not a brotherhood of priests, but a brotherhood of people dedicated to doing the right thing.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan