Proper 15 – Year C

Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18; (or Jeremiah 23:23-29; Psalm 82); Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

“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 here?   What could Jesus possibly be talking about in saying that he came to bring division and not peace (Luke 12:51)?  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 John who remembered Jesus saying these uplifting things while Luke 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.  Look at history.  It is similar to 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.  Or it is similar to a member of a dedicated military family speaking out publicly against whatever the current war 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.  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 lockstep, 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.)


                In Luke 12:51 Jesus says that he came to bring “division.”  This is the once and only place in the whole New Testament that this Greek noun is used.  It comes from a more common Greek verb meaning “to divide” or “to separate.”  Now that verb is one of Luke’s favorite words used move in his gospel than the whole rest of the New Testament.  Did perhaps Luke have some falling out with his own personal family as a result of his following Jesus?


One against the two

margins on all diminished.

One with two all more.