Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time/ July 13, 2020
Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1
Friends in today’s Gospel Jesus said to His Apostles, “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.
What had Jesus told them, in our Gospel today proves the prophecy of Simeon, when he told Mary and Joseph during Jesus presentation in the temple, that this child ‘Jesus’ will be the cause of the destruction of the many in Israel, He is the appointed to cause the rise and fall of the many in Israel and He will be a sign that is opposed (Luke 2:34). And this for sure includes the division within the families, son against his father; daughter against her mother and etc.
Does Jesus really intended division among families and loved ones? What does this passage mean?
I think to better understand this passage let us know the context. The Gospel is the conclusion of the ‘missionary discourse’ of Jesus. Meaning that ‘Discipleship’ here is still the demand and priority. And being a disciple (learner) of the Lord JEsus, one must differ from the morals and affections of the followers of the world. Being a disciple of Jesus, there should be no person (including parents,father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law), no situations that would divert us from following our consciences and doing of the right thing – whatever the circumstances. [365 Days with the Lord] No one should prevent us!
What Jesus was telling in the Gospel is not new. It happened in their time of missionary journey. What is happening now in our time happened also in Jesus’ time. And it will continue to happen until the day when Jesus himself will come back. I remember a friend who experienced this for many years. He was rejected by her family for being converted to Catholicism and believing firmly in the words of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel. Her belief in the Gospel and in Christ, really divided her within her family. And what Jesus was telling in the Gospel is true, “many will hate you because of Me” (Matthew 10:22), even relatives and family (Mark 6:1-13).
Jesus really will not bring peace but sword. The sword that Jesus will bring is no other than the ‘Gospel’ which separates those parents who remain in infidelity. “It must be observed, that the Gospel does not necessarily of itself produce dissensions among men, but that Christ foresee from the depravity of man’s heart, that dissensions would follow the propagation of the Gospel. The blame of this, however does not attached to the Gospel itself, since those who embrace it after their conversion sought more than ever to keep peace with all men, even in their most bitter persecutions; while those men rejected the Gospel, forgetting even the ties of kindred, persecuted even to death the followers of Christ.” [Verbum]
So, does Jesus intended divisions? No! “Not that Christ came for this end, to cause divisions between father and son, mother and daughter and etc. On the contrary, the Scriptures teach us to love every one without exemption, and especially our kindred.” [Challoner] But when one oppose ‘the Gospel’ our Lord Jesus Christ, there should be no kindred.
This is tough and challenging!
Prayer: Abba, our Loving Father, thank You For sending us Your Word, the Gospel who pierces our hearts. May we who are wounded by Your Word may share this Good News towardds our brethren. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives with YOu in unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.