He was announced and prophesized from of old as the Messiah, the King of Peace. Jesus was that and more. He would disappoint many who saw in him a new and great possibility of ghting o the colonial aggressor, the Ro- mans. But Jesus was very secure in his own identity and he would have none of it. He would ee the crowds who wanted to make him King and he would endeavor to be a Preacher and a Teacher di erent from the Rabbis everyone knew. He was bringing a new concept of Religion and of relating to God the Father, and by no mere observance of the letter of the law but by having hearts that were pure and open to the presence of God in their lives. This God was personal and He was interested in their own personal lives wishing to possess them completely.
This Jesus did speak of peace and harmony and love. But this was not a mere empty platitude. Love of God and love of neighbor and even love of enemies demanded a new set of categories in the religious mind open to all the possibilities of God's Grace and enabling the soul to surrender humbly to Him as an act of humility and of dependence. And therefore, this sweet Jesus who preached LOVE was also the Jesus that preached WAR, war against the self, war against the enticements of Satan, war against a holy mediocrity that just wants to get along without making any waves.
But in life one cannot go on forever placating everyone so that everyone will be your friend and one will be loved by everyone. This Jesus also says that the demands of DISCIPLESHIP could be very high on account of his per- son or his doctrine or both. And he drops this bomb amongst his friends and disciples saying "I have come to establish re on this earth...(v.49). I have come to bring division" (v. 51) even among family members, parents, children, in-laws. WHY? Wouldn't it be better to have with us the old sweet Jesus, a lover of children, just preaching about love? Why this re? Why this division?
God's TRUTH is very hard on families. There is no wiggle room around it or in it. TRUTH and especially the Truth of God, demands an adherence that sometimes people are not willing to make. And therefore persons will look for compromises or to take the middle of the road so as not to be EDGY. But one must be edgy and have a solid backbone in certain areas of our life and of our faith and the truth of that needs to be spoken. We do not want to become perfect examples of ino ensive Christianity. It is like a LAMP that cannot be hid- den. In fact the opposite is true: IT HAS TO SHINE, our words will shine, in charity, before all. That will cause division even among family members. That was the division Jesus was speaking about in this Sunday's Gospel.
DISCIPLESHIP has high collateral damage: Friends, family, acquaintanc- es will leave your side. That is ne. We have a saying in Spanish: Es mejor estar solo que mal acompañado! (who needs bad company? It is better to be alone.) The world in which we move will not help. The Christian has to learn to be COUNTER CULTURAL. There nothing new in it. It has happened before through the centuries and will continue to happen again in the future. But the possession and the service to the TRUTH OF GOD should free us with the knowledge that Jesus has walked the same path. His surrender to the TRUTH and the WILL of his Father was an act of total perfection and union with God. So we must ignite the earth with the re of his Truth.
May the Peace of Christ be with you always,