Luke 14:25-33 Above All Things
If we do not put God above all things, we end up in a downward spiral. We end up worshipping ourselves and hating others, and when we end up hating others, we eventually end up hating ourselves. All things turn to dust – it will be the end of us.
Who commands the heavens and the earth? Have you ever reflected on the fact that Church steeples were once the tallest structures; they were typically the center and highest structure in a town or city. Only recently were they replaced by skyscrapers. Ask yourself if we are not in competition with God?
In the children’s liturgy, this difficult reading is read in a more positive light: “If anyone comes to me loving his father and mother, brothers and sisters, and even himself more than I, he cannot be my disciple.” The Lord is not inviting us to hate anyone. The Lord is inviting us, his followers, to love even more and in a radical way. In neither reading, does the Lord mention mother-in-law or father-in-law. He knows human nature quite well.
Worship the Lord above all things
We have been called into existence for one reason: To know and to love the One who gave us life. Our parents come in a close fourth. The first Commandment is Love God above all things. The fourth command is Honor your Mother and Father. The Lord is not, in any way, trying to divide man (man does a pretty good job of that already). Rather, the Lord is trying to bring true freedom to man. Freedom can only occur if we live a proper life, an ordered life – a life of detachment and attachment. The giver of life must come first; even above the most intimate of human relationships! If I do not worship the Lord, I will end up attaching myself to passing persons and things. I will end up lonely. If I worship the Lord, put him first in my life, then I will attach myself to him and he alone will give me the eyes to see the value of all things great and small. He is the standard, the measure, of all things. He alone is worthy of all my pains, my sufferings, even my own death! The past fifty years have taught us a great deal about parent-child relationships. Many parents have come to realize that if they do not instruct their children well; their children will end of instructing – dictating - them! A good psychology always begins with a love for the Lord. A good life, devoid of addictions, begins when I place God above all things. If not, I end up a slave to others, hating others and hating life itself.
All things turn to dust
“Lord, You turn man back to dust, saying, ‘return, O children of men.’” Self-esteem, self-confidence and/or self-respect have nothing to do with honors and titles. The rich young man asked the Lord, What must I do? The answer was shocking! “Renounce all your possessions.” Rid yourself of all worldly possessions. It’s either all or nothing! Are we not called to give generously and to receive graciously? Yes. Tremendous love is poured out at a tremendous price. Christ showed us his love by paying the price! Throughout our lives, we receive many blessings from the Lord; always, at a very dear price. The secret to self-respect and self-reliance lies in giving, and giving abundantly. The more we give, the more we die to self, the more we shall rise above ourselves.
Let us call upon the Lord as if he were truly alive and above the rest. Let us ask the Lord to shower us with his graces so that we may increase our faith in him (see beyond our sight); hope in him (remember that the end of the day brings the dawning of a new day); and love for him - that he is the beginning and end of all things. If we place the Lord above all things then we will truly love our neighbor as well as ourselves.