St Luke 14.25


I do not understand the English version of today’s Gospel : " if any one comes to me without hating his father and mother…"
The French version says:" if you do not prefer me than…", the Spanish version says:" if you do not love me more than…" The Portuguese version says:" and if you do not have more love …"

Jesus asked us to love even our enemies, how can He ask us to hate our parents?

How can we explain such a difference in translation of the Gospel?
To love more or to prefer is understandable but to hate…


Many thought they would eat bread in God’s kingdom just because they were of the Jewish race. Jesus was correcting that.

It is not a matter of who your mother and father were but how well you follow Jesus.



It’s just Luke’s Greek reflecting the Semitic language (presumably Aramaic) in which Christ presumably spoke these words. From what I’ve read (I have no personal knowledge of these languages) it was impossible to say “love this less than that” in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. Instead you had to say “hate this and love that.” People would understand what you meant by the context.

From what you say, the French, Spanish, and Portuguese versions have translated the passage loosely and interpretatively, giving the underlying thought but not the words of Christ. In my opinion this is a mistake, since St. Luke himself chose the opposite approach, preserving Christ’s Semitic form of expression even though Greek was perfectly capable of saying “love me more” or “love them less.” The English translation has preserved the Semitism, leaving it up to the pastor to explain the meaning when it comes up in the mass.


GREGORY. (in Hom. ut sup.) How the hatred of life ought to be shewn He declares as follows; Whosoever bears not his cross, &c.*

He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. (Mt 10:37).

He that loveth his life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world keepeth it unto life eternal. John 12:25

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death. Rev 12:11

AMBROSE. For if for thy sake the Lord renounces His own mother, saying, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? (Matt. 12:48, Mark 3:33.) why dost thou deserve to be preferred to thy Lord? But the Lord will have us neither be ignorant of nature, nor be her slaves, but so to submit to nature, that we reverence the Author of nature, and depart not from God out of love to our parents.*

Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 516–517).


In the examples in the Gospel, the people are making a dichotomy between Jesus and their parents or children. It’s common in semitic language to use exaggeration to make a strong point. Like how we might say “I have a million things to do today.” Jesus merely used very strong words to tell us that we cannot exclude Christ from our relationship with our parents, children, etc… So in a sense, you should “hate” the idea of excluding Jesus for another person. Keep Jesus in all things. :o


In his outstanding work Christians For Freedom, Ignatius 1986, p 43-47, (with a new edition, since), Dr Alejandro Chafuen has examined carefully the teaching of Christ and wealth.

Citing the case of the rich young man in Luke 18:18-25, Dr Chafuen remarks that many authors think that Jesus was condemning the possession of riches, but “the Late Scholastics indicated that this was not the correct interpretation. Citing Luke 14:26, where Jesus says, ‘If any man come to Me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be My disciple,’ the Scholastics pointed out that this passage does not enjoin Christians to hate their fathers. Such doctrine would contradict the Fourth Commandment. Thomist and Scholastic interpretations of this passage are that the entrance to the kingdom of Heaven is denied to anyone who values things more than God. In Matthew’s Gospel (10:37), the same passage reads: ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to Me is not worthy of Me.’ It would be a violation of the natural order to value a created thing above its creator, as did the young ruler who pursued riches as his ultimate goal.


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