Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Memorial of Zechariah and of Elizabeth, who in her old age conceived John the Baptist

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 14, 25-33

Great crowds accompanied him on his way and he turned and spoke to them.

'Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple.

No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.

'And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it?

Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying,

"Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish."

Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who was advancing against him with twenty thousand?

If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace.

So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple without giving up all that he owns.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After a long pause at the house of the head of the Pharisees, Jesus continues on his way to Jerusalem. The evangelist notes that a large crowd followed him. Their enthusiasm is surprising, understandably. How could one not be fascinated by a man who was so good, who sought in any way possible to console and comfort all, particularly those with problems or in need of healing? Before the great crowd that followed him, Jesus felt the need to clarify what it means to follow, to be his disciple. He had previously spoken about this when he said: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves...” (Lk 9:23). By repeating this, Jesus is showing the importance he attributes to the choice to follow him. Jesus demands an exclusive bond that is stronger than the one among family members. The evangelist Luke makes a long list of people who should not be loved more than Jesus. The list may sound strange, but in this way Jesus is underlining the exclusivity of the love he requires. It must be absolutely clear that the choice to follow Jesus must come before every affection, before everything of this world. It is not an exaggeration and far less a whim, as we often make or pretend. Here, it deals with the highest choice that a human being is called to make. And it is in this context that the word “hate” must be understood: Jesus means it in the sense of not preferring anyone else to him. Undoubtedly, it is a radical choice, and as such requires cuts and divisions from so many bad instincts and evil thoughts that are in the heart of everyone. Exclusive love for Jesus is the foundation of the life of a disciple. “To take up the cross” is equivalent to being ready for death. What Jesus asks of his disciples he has above all asked of himself. If he claims an exclusive love even unto death, it is because he loves us even unto death, death upon a cross. Jesus took the cross of love for us upon his shoulders. It is impossible to understand the Gospel without understanding the great love with which Jesus loves us. If it was true for Jesus, it is also for us. Without this love that leads to death, as so many martyrs of yesterday and today demonstrate, life is not settled; indeed it is like building a tower without a foundation or undertaking a battle without an adequate army. The claim of a radical love constitutes the substance of the Gospel as well the life of a disciple. Facing a waiting world, disciples are responsible for this kind of love