“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Wow, some pretty stern words from Jesus in Matthew 10:34-11:1! Scripture is awesome and if you take it out of context, you can use it for any purpose that you want and the world does that very well. We must try to read scripture in the context it was written and to seek the meaning for us in our lives today.
Jesus was talking to His disciples whom He was sending out to preach the Gospel. He was teaching them. He was not telling them not to love their father or mother or sons and daughters. The 4th Commandment tells us to honor our father and mother and we do that with great love for our parents.
The simple explanation, at least for me is to put God first. Put God first in everything. But to put God first we have to know God and to know God we have to pray, read His Word, pray, worship Him at church (Mass), pray, pray and pray. We should live a sacramental life, one that places our dependence completely on God. I believe when we place God first, all will fall into place. I mention “into place” meaning that we will still have crosses to bear as Jesus continually tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him.
One more simple way to think about it is that the next time you are feeling such great love for your mom, your dad, your son, your daughter or anyone you love, remember where the grace to love comes from. That would be putting God first in the great spirit of thanksgiving.