In today's first reading, Romans 13: 8-10, St. Paul admonishes us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He reminds us that what we owe each other is love. In loving others we fulfill the whole law and in choosing to love others we are choosing to do no evil to anyone! However, it is not enough to do no evil. To fulfill the law of love, we need to do to others what we would want done to us: a kind word when we are down, a lift when we are too weak to help ourselves, assistance when we may have lost our job and have no way to provide for our family and so on. In the responsorial psalm, Psalm 112, we are told: "Well for the [person] who is gracious and lends, who conducts his [her] affairs with justice."
In today's Gospel, Luke 14: 25-33, we encounter that difficult teaching from Jesus, who says to us: 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." Is Jesus literally telling us to hate our parents and siblings and spouses to hate one another? Of course not! What Jesus is emphasizing is the importance of having our priorities straight! We are to let nothing come between us and what God is asking of us! Sometimes we may be asked to do something for God/for Jesus that our family members strongly oppose and put forth efforts to block us from following the course that we know God is calling us to embrace. That could lead to feelings of hatred on both sides, ours and theirs. Each of us belongs to God. God has a purpose that we are called to fulfill and sometimes others we love do not understand why we are making the choice we are making. God is to be our first priority at whatever price!
What price am I willing to pay to be right with God? Remember the price God paid for us to be in right relationship with Him!