"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
Jesus is speaking about the conditions for discipleship. These are all exacting conditions. To follow them is not easy. But the fruit of such obedience will be extraordinary and eternal. There are some strange conditions here: 'Hate father, mother, sister ...' Can you hate them if they promote your spiritual life? When they hinder your life you will certainly hate them. Either father or mother or sister can hinder some who want to serve the Lord. St. Francis's father was a hindrance to him. He drew him to the court. He took away even the clothes he had given his son. In the court Francis stood naked. St. Francis said, "You're no longer my father; my Heavenly Father is my father." His life inspires people even today all over the world. He became a spiritual leader. The spiritual graces that God gave him were developed to the highest degree. We don't hate the father who promotes our spiritual powers. In your old age, if you remember how your father or sister led you away from faith, you will say, "It is my father that ruined my life. All my sorrows and tears are due to the ungodliness of my father." Yes. You will hate them then. What Jesus says is right.
Man thinks that God should give him everything when he becomes religious. Of course, God will give you everything if you become a servant and serve others wholeheartedly. A Christian will be willing to do lowly service. Kartar Singh's dress was plucked away from him in a cold country. He went and worked on the roadside as a coolie. That is bearing the Cross. Many evangelists want an easy living. An evangelist must work hard - may be by prayer - carrying the burdens of others and weeping before God. May be this is not easy. Bearing the burden of a dead Church and praying that the Church may be resurrected is not easy.