A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
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.
“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 find his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns. (Matthew 10:34—11:1 NAB)
Isn’t Jesus called the “Prince of peace?” Didn’t the angels announce in Bethlehem at his birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” And yet he himself said in today’s reading that he has not come to bring peace upon the earth, but the sword! These are words that are hard to square with our common perception of Jesus.
At this morning’s Mass our parish priest put it like this: Jesus did not come to intentionally create division, but his message and what we do with it as people can create division. We all have free will. If you accept his message and live in his way, but your loved one rejects his message and lives in opposition to Jesus, then division is created, as certainly as if a sword had come between the two of you. How often have we seen a relationship with another Christian closer than what exists between two family members who have chosen a different path.
The call for those of us who follow Jesus is to continue to love. The name of this blog is “Caritas in Veritate.” We follow the way of truth, but we always do it in love. People may disagree with us, even family members and close friends, but that doesn’t excuse us from loving them as Jesus loves. There is no better witness to truth “but to do justice [live like God], and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NRSV).