Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Every time I hear that gospel reading I think, wow, that doesn’t sound like the let-there-be-peace-on-earth Lord and Savior with whom I’m familiar. What’s up with that?
I have always justified Jesus’ words, according to St. Luke, as his reminding us that he came to earth not to just make the people feel good. He came to SHAKE THINGS UP. He came to encourage people to break out of the status quo. His aim was to make people feel uncomfortable and to stand up for their faith and their belief in God despite their discomfort. It isn’t enough to simply follow the Ten Commandments, he said to his followers. You have to leave your comfort zone and work hard for what God teaches and what you believe.
Msgr. Fryer took my thoughts a bit further, and applied Jesus’ teachings to today’s world. Today’s world, where people are sort of forgetting about faith in God and the teachings of Jesus. Today’s world where it seems like the further people get from God, the more messed up things get.
Jesus preached to his followers that it was their responsibility to preach his word to the world, even if it meant that they were going against the beliefs of their friends and family. And Jesus tells us to do the same thing. Stand up for God’s word. Fight for what you believe is right and for the will of God. In this day and age where people seem to believe that anything goes if it feels right to you, standing up for God’s word is even more important. And often more difficult.
There’s no question that very often being a Christian puts you in a position where you get push-back. As people grow further and further away from God, it becomes more difficult to stand up for what you believe. Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth, said Jesus.
Bill and I talked about the gospel and about the homily after church. We talked about how every day we hear from our friends and co-workers and television and social media that we have to be tolerant and accept everyone’s beliefs because it is the right thing to do. But very often the so-called tolerance seems to only goes in one direction. We are expected to support everyone’s beliefs, but that support doesn’t seem to have to go both ways.
I think that’s the very thing about which Jesus was speaking. It doesn’t matter if you get push-back. Stand up for what you believe is right. And don’t judge others. Challenge, don’t judge.
And PEOPLE! Love your mother-in-law, no matter what!