When I read gospel lessons like the one we’ve read today, I sometimes wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus spoke difficult words like these. I’m sure they were keenly interested in the success of Jesus’ mission and were delighted to see the large crowds that flocked to him. Being in the inner circle of a popular public figure like Jesus must have been very gratifying. As more and more people came to Jesus, it must have felt like confirmation of their own choice to leave everything to follow him. But I think they must have shaken their heads with confusion and disbelief when Jesus addressed those same crowds with words like these – words which could only have been off-putting for those who heard them: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (v.26). “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (v.27). “None of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions” (v.33).