It never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit works. Just a few moments ago, I had been sitting at this computer for the longest time, reflecting on the Gospel for this coming Sunday, trying to make sense of it. Those are tough words coming from Jesus: hating our families, taking up our cross, counting the cost of discipleship.
Nothing was coming to mind, so I gave up and decided to wait till later. For some reason I suddenly decided to look up my childhood home using Google Earth. So I typed in my old address. Earlier versions limited the user to an overhead satellite view. But the new version of Google allowed me to look at the house as though I was standing on the street. Holy Smokes! So many changes, especially in landscaping! In fact, the entire neighborhood (originally 9 homes and a school) was one huge housing community over what in my childhood had been farmland. Even weirder was to see that the house was valued at well over $150,000. And this is a two bedroom, one bath house built in 1950 for about $3,000 with the help of my grandfather who lived next door.
Then suddenly the idea hit (thank you, Holy Spirit): “You can’t go home again.”
Jesus’ use of the word “hate” is typical Semitic hyperbole. His primary mission, after all, was to help us know and love His Father and know and love each other. There is today a strong hankering for the “simpler” time of the past. We want to cling to what we know, to what has given comfort and sustenance in the past. We want to remember a family member as he or she used to be, a childhood home as it used to be, a Church and country as they used to be, and so on.
But it can’t be done. “The used to be” has to give way to “what is and what is to come.” Change is fearful, and a fearful person cannot get to know Jesus and his Father with any degree of intimacy because they are holding so tightly to that which is past.
Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.