Luke 14:26. If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his own father, mother,
children, brothers, sisters and even his own life, he can not be my disciple.
We face this recalcitrant verse as we face a cliff. Can hatred be the criteria required for following Jesus?
The Bible teaches us to respect and honor our father and mother, to love our
neighbor as ourself and now Jesus places as a condition for being His disciple,
hatred for our closest relatives, for those we are called to love, even hatred for
Jesus is the enemy of hate. In his ministry he himself summarized the
commandments, affirming, “You were told to love your friend and hate your enemy, but I tell you to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you.”
The good news of Jesus is that each and every one of us is worthy to live a life of
good sense. This is where the word becomes a sharp blade that cuts to the bone,
that puts my limits in front of me. Why can’t I love Jesus and my daughter? Why
can’t I serve the gospel and have a comfortable life?
This verse indicates the direction, the sense to follow.
The wisdom of the Old Testament helps us to see these words as the criterion which forbid anything that is not Jesus Christ to have power over me.
Here the term hate can mean separation: Who follows Jesus has his treasure in Christ and in nothing else. It’s not a refusal in a psychological or fanatical sense. In history, also the history of Christianity, behind the defense of faith, hatred has been, and even now risks to be, the protagonist in relations with everyone and everything which are considered diverse, foreign or enemy.
Here Jesus isn’t talking about enemies, but about those who are closest to me, my parents, my children, even my own life. Those relationships—let’s say it
sincerely—that, at times risk becoming an alibi for remaining immobile, for not
daring to change my point of view.
It is specifically my point of view about the world that Jesus urges me to change.
Christ throws a new light on my relationships. He calls me to live not because I have to or because I need to show something, but in the liberty of gratitude.
God above all, our Lord, once He was made human in Jesus Christ, “hated” his life
by giving importance to what had no importance: children, women, the ill, and the
foreign, and by removing value from things that were considered important:
political and religious power, above all. This type of “hate” is, in reality, the
knowledge of the greatness of God’s love, which has even arrived to the cross of
Jesus, becoming completely vulnerable and transforming the criteria of the world.