Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17; (or Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:8-11, (12-17), 18-20); Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39
“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men than all infidelity that has ever been spoken.” – George MacDonald
What’s the good news in today’s Gospel? What could Jesus possibly be talking about in saying that he came to bring a sword and not peace (Matthew 10:34)? Then he goes on to speak of divisions even in close nuclear families, which were so important in Jewish society. Did he forget that he once said that he gives us peace (John 14:27), and that he once prayed to the father that we all be one united (John 17:21)? Or was it only the evangelist John in his late Gospel who remembered Jesus saying these uplifting things, while Matthew was out picking up pizza for dinner? Jesus probably said both. He talked about peace so much that it is very likely that he desired us to be at peace and united with each other. On the other hand Jesus knew that sadly the result of following him would cause division. Just look at history. Even now days think of a gay or lesbian, for the sake of truth and love, coming out to their parents. This has caused much division and rejection in families. Think of a member of a dedicated military family speaking out publicly against whatever the current war our country may be raging. This effort at truth speaking can cause a lack of peace in that family. Jesus said the truth will set us free (John 8:32). But he also knew it would be hard and divisive. Jesus wanted peace, yet today’s gospel is a reality check. But it seems that many Christians take this passage about Jesus coming to bring division as if it were a commandment, as if Jesus wanted divisions. Be divided in the name of God. Just look at all the unnecessary and petty conflicts and splitting up in our churches. We do not seem to have much tolerance for ambiguity and paradox in our relationships. Unity does not mean walking in step lock, all thinking identical thoughts. The more we embrace diversity the closer we will be to unity. Even the one God is diverse (Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)
Matthew 10:38 has the expression “take up your cross and follow me.” This is probably not an original saying from Jesus. The expression “take up your cross” only came later, knowing that Jesus died on the cross. Before the crucifixion it would be meaningless. By the time the followers of Jesus were speaking and writing in Greek, it had become a common expression – not during the life time of Jesus.
One against the two
margins on all diminished.
One with two all more.