Peace or Division?
Gospel Reflection for July 11, 2022
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set
a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’” (Mt. 10:34-36)
The message of today’s Gospel is one that, at first, might be confusing and hard to accept. Why would Jesus, Who’s teachings often emphasized the importance of love and mercy, cause division among various people and families?
Jesus was explaining that not everyone will accept Him and His teachings, and that as a result, those who follow Him will also experience unacceptance, even among their closest friends and family. This is because the Lord calls and leads His followers to reject the ways and beliefs of the world, and to live their lives in a way that is radically different from everyone else. And, as we all know, being different comes with a price.
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When we choose to commit our lives to the Lord, sometimes our closest friends and family become set against us. They might judge us for our beliefs and become quick to point out where we are failing to meet the world’s standards. Their judgmental words and remarks may even tempt us to try to “fit in” with the times in order to please those people. However, Jesus warns us,
“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.” (Mt. 10:37-39)
So, we must not desire, nor love, the praise and acceptance of others more than Jesus! Even if it causes us to be judged and persecuted by others, we must remain steadfast to our Catholic beliefs and the teachings of the Lord, and we must persevere in carrying our cross and doing His will. Further, though in today’s secular world, many people will disagree with our faith and lifestyle, there will be people who accept and receive us, and these people simply need to be shown the Way with the help of our example and guidance.
Overall, today’s Gospel communicates the importance of loving God and of doing His will above all else, regardless of what others think or say. Following Jesus and His example may cause division in our lives, however, we must continue to renounce the ways of the world and to carry our cross on the narrow way, where we will find both our life and peace through Jesus.