Living from the Liturgy Daily Devotional for September 4 – 10

 

Summary:

 

True Love and True Hatred are not merely emotions or feelings. In the Scriptures, both Love and Hatred are described as actions, a matter of decisions and commitments. As the St. John tells us in Jn. 3:16, it is that God has loved us in this way, in this manner, with this kind of action: That He has sent His only Son, to bear our sin and be our savior.

In the same way, True Hatred is also an action, a decision, it is the devaluing of something. It is to be emptied and renounce something as least and last of all. Therefore, Jesus exhorts His would-be disciples, not to bear malice towards their families, but to be emptied and cut off from that which is most important; family and self, community.

In sin, we love and worship ourselves. Even our self-proclaimed great love for our families is tainted and corrupted with sin and selfishness. Jesus calls us to a radical repentance and faith, to be emptied, to renounce, and even debase ourselves.

The full cost of discipleship is the confession that we have utterly and absolutely nothing to give, and that we are utterly and absolutely without hope and help of saving ourselves.

But this debasement and confession is not without purpose. For the Lord humbles so that He might exalt, He empties so that He might fill us. Indeed, He cuts us off from ourselves and our families, so that He might be received in faith as all of these things (Perfect Father, Faithful Brother, Holy Bridegroom) and more for us.

In turn, and by faith, He now gives these very relationships back to us. So that we might see in our parents, spouses, siblings and children, the Holy and Perfect and gift that Christ has made them through His own forgiveness and His gift of faith.

In Faith, we serve joyfully and reflect our True Father’s love to our families and our neighbors. In Faith, our marriages are held together not by mere affections but the Holy Blood of Christ that covers all sin.

At the Table of our True Father and True Family, God fills us where we have been emptied of sin, He is gracious and merciful. He not only gives us what we need, but He binds us together as His Family for all eternity in the only Blood that can accomplish it.

 

For further reflection:

 

The term ‘hate’ (misein, Greek) is the opposite of ‘love’ (agapao, Greek). The terms denote attitudes and modes of action, not emotions. The point is not how one feels toward parents and family but one’s effective attitude when it comes to [] the kingdom.

-L.T. Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, p. 229.

 

The Lord gives the signal for us to stand guard in camp and to build the tower from which we may recognize and ward off the enemy of our eternal life. The heavenly trumpet of Christ urges the soldier to battle, and his mother holds him back …

What does she say or what argument does she give? Perhaps is it those ten months when you lay in her womb and the pangs of birth and burden of rearing you? You must kill this with the sword of salvation. You must destroy this in your mother that you may find her in life eternal.

Remember, you must hate this in her if you love her, if you are a recruit of Christ and have laid the foundations of the tower. Passersby may not say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” That is earthly affection. It still has the ring of the “old man.” Christian warfare invites us to destroy this earthly affection both in ourselves and in our relatives. Of course, no one should be ungrateful to his parents or mock the list of their services to him, since by them he was brought into this life, cherished and fed. A man should always pay his family duty, but let these things keep their place where higher duties do not call.

Mother church is also the mother of your mother. She conceived you both in Christ …

Know that her Spouse took human flesh that you might not be attached to fleshly things. Know that all the things for which your mother scolds you were undertaken by the eternal Word that you might not be subject to the weakness of flesh. Ponder his humiliations, scourging and death, even the death of the cross.

-Augustine, Letter 243.

 

(Regarding Luke 14:28-30): The great point to be noted is that Jesus does not say that this man should not build the tower. That is the usual interpretation, but it is not even by implication contained in Jesus’ words. Jesus wants us to become disciples, the man ought to build the grand tower. But no man can do this by his own natural ability; to attempt it thus is utter folly. He could never get beyond the foundation, [i.e. a] mere outward profession of faith, [a] mere outward attachment to Jesus. Where, then, is the money to come from to build this tower? Grace furnishes us all that discipleship needs, grace alone.

-Richard C.H. Lenski, Interpretation of Luke, p. 788.

 

“Salt is good, but if the salt becomes tasteless, with what can it be seasoned? It is cast out,” he says. He continues, “Let there be salt in you,” that is, the divine words that bring salvation. If we despise these, we become tasteless, foolish and utterly useless. The congregation of the saints must throw out these things, but the gift of mercy and love to them from Christ, the Savior of us all.

-Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 105.