In the classic love triangle there are three people. One is stuck between two love interests. The two love interests, knowingly or unknowingly, are competing with each other and vying for the time, attention, energy, and love of the third person.
In today’s gospel Jesus holds before us a couple of love triangles. “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.” In the first triangle there is Jesus, us, and our mother and father. In the second triangle there is Jesus, us, and our children. These are by no means the only love triangles of our lives. Love triangles can involve anyone or anything.
Every love triangle confronts us with two questions. What is your most important relationship? Whom do you love the most?
If, however, Jesus asks us to love him more than our own parents and children, our own flesh and blood, then he also does so with everything else about our lives. There can be only one primary relationship in our lives and Jesus says it is to be him. His demand for primacy is not limited to our mother and father or our son and daughter. It is a primacy over everyone and everything in our life. He could have easily continued the list.
Today’s gospel holds before us and confronts us with the many love triangles in which we all live and struggle. It demands we make a choice. Does that mean we must reject our parents, our children, our spouses, and all other love interests? No, that is not what Jesus is saying or asking. Jesus is not demanding exclusivity but he is demanding priority. Jesus refuses to be just another one of our many love interests.