The Gospel itself starts with a saying which many find hard to understand: must we really “hate” our family to be the Lords disciples? The point is that it is relative: what are we prepared to give up for  the Gospel? Are we going to try and make our own cross, or accept whatever we are given? Jesus is probably trying to discourage the crowd of sensation seekers and hangers-on who are crowing round him. He wants real disciples, who are aware of the possible cost: not like the incompetent builder, or the useless king. To be a disciple, one must be prepared to follow Jesus anywhere, whatever it might cost in possessions, family or friends. We may never understand why, but then, “who can know the intentions of God?”

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