Discipleship is tough. Today’s gospel reading makes that clear. It is helpful to remember what Jesus said earlier in the Gospel of Luke: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (Lk  8:21). Jesus has redefined what “family” means; for him, the natural ties of blood are secondary to the ties of discipleship. Following Jesus is demanding and has consequences – real demands and real consequences.

Here’s the thing, though: Luke makes it clear that, if we embrace the Gospel, we will always have family, our sisters and brothers in the Church, the family of believers formed by baptism and nourished together at the Eucharistic table.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. serves John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, as professor education. He is also the Rector of the Jesuit community there.