This week at Mass we hear in the Gospel Reading what might seem to be confusing words from Jesus: “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”. Sacred Scripture is one way that God reveals Himself to us, but as Catholics, we also believe in God’s revelation to us in Sacred Tradition. Both are important to our understanding of God and our faith. In Sacred Scripture, we have to remember that translation is important. Different translators might translate words or phrases differently. This is one of the reasons why certain bibles are approved by the Catholic Church, and others are not. In addition, proper interpretation of Sacred Scripture is also important. When we may be confused about what a certain passage in Sacred Scripture means, we should research or ask someone who has properly studied Sacred Scripture. Ideally, regular Bible study and the use of Catholic commentaries can help answer many of our questions. Two good study bibles are the “Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, New Testament” (New Testament only) [click here] and “The New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition” (both Old and New Testaments) [click here].
This particular scripture passage in today’s Gospel should be interpreted as meaning we must put God first in our lives, ahead of even our family. Having a good relationship with God first, will flow through us and make it possible for us to have a good relationship with our family and neighbors. Without this good relationship with God, ultimately those other relationships will falter. So we must make sure we are in right relationship with God first, so that we can have authentic charity towards others in our lives.
Father James Brady