2019-09-0823rd Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Some religious denominations in Christianity will emphasize that you have to take the words and concepts in the Bible literally. They will say that God created the world in 6 days and God rested on the 7th day. They do not try to reconcile religion with science. This is called fundamentalism.

Catholic Scripture scholars teach that the Bible is more of a library than a book. There are many different kinds of writing in the Bible as there are many different kinds of writing in a newspaper.

In a newspaper we have the front page, the sports section, the editorials, the comics, and Dear Abby. All of it is true but in a different way. Much of the writing cannot be taken literally. You have to understand the context in which it is written.

Today's Gospel is an unusual one. Is Jesus really suggesting that we hate our fathers and mothers, wives and children, brothers and sisters? Is he saying that we should hate our own lives if we wish to be one of his disciples?

I think that Jesus is making a strong point by using forms of exaggeration as we often do. Sometimes, we say things like: "I would give my right arm or I would give a million dollars to do that"! We cannot take these words of Jesus literally but we should try to understand what he means. And what he means is that Jesus Christ must be number one in our lives. He must be our highest priority. To be a follower of Jesus Christ is a lifetime commitment. We must follow his teachings and commands all of the time - not just some of the time.

Sometimes your family and friends lead you to Jesus Christ and sometimes they do not. Sometimes they lead you away from Christ.

Life is filled with choices. Sometimes we make good choices and sometimes we make bad ones. The bad choices that we make are called sins.

Life, sometimes, is difficult. Jesus knew that. At times the life of Jesus Christ was difficult as well. Jesus says in today's Gospel: "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

All of us are called to be loving and honest people who are willing to help other people live a better life by helping them in any way possible.

Love God and your neighbor as you love yourself and you will be rewarded for you efforts by God himself. If may not happen in this life but it will happen

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