As I listen to the first part of today’s Gospel where Jesus notices that great crowds are following him, I get a sense that he almost becomes alarmed: “Do these people really know what it means to be a disciple — to follow me? Or are they just filled with enthusiasm and think of me as a wonder-worker, and they’re coming for favors and blessings and not really discerning discipleship — what it means to follow Jesus?”
So he makes what seems to be kind of a harsh statement: “You have to love God more than father, mother, brother, sister, wife, family, children, or you can’t be my disciple.” At the very end, he says, “If you’re not willing to give up your possessions to follow me, don’t try to be my disciple.”
So today, as we listen to the Scriptures, we’re really being challenged to discover more deeply perhaps than we have up to this point what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It’s going to mean a deep turning in our lives. At the very beginning of Jesus’ public life, he proclaims, “The reign of God is at hand. Change your lives,” and this requires a deep profound change in our life because to follow Jesus, of course, is to follow God….