“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…”This is a shocking statement that needs to be unpacked. While Jesus tells us that there is “the cost of discipleship”, this doesn’t mean that we have to think less of our fathers and mothers. Following Jesus in his time meant that people had to break from many things, even parents, to be his followers. This is true today for many people when we are often looked upon as “odd” by family and friends because we are believers, go to church, and have a unique set of values and mode of conduct. All of this may seem odd to some, but it may be an invitation to others to look again at what it means to believe.

This is probably a long weekend for many people. Take time to relax and spend time with family or friends. Also remember why we celebrate the 4th of July. Remember those who fought and worked for freedom and those who continue this work. Today, there is much that we can do to let those in positions of leadership know what we think. We have to believe that every voice counts because, joined together, we can make a difference. Whatever we do, we do it in response to the Gospel: “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.” In God’s kingdom, no one is “least” and we have the ability to stand up for those who may appear to be “least.”

Happy 4th of July!

-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.