Daily Reflection – 10/24/19
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 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.”( Luke 12:49-53)
In our Gospel today, Jesus corrects a misperception. Some no doubt expected him to usher in the messianic peace, when the lion would lie down with the lamb. No, the time for that peace will be at history’s end, when God’s Kingdom is established in all its fullness. Till then, Christianity will often find itself in conflict with the values and powers of the world. The spark of our soul must be a strong-enough flame to avoid the cheap peace of acquiescing with the world.
How do we maintain that spark? Two things we must keep in the forefront of our minds.
One is to remember what our free gift of eternal life cost Jesus. We could not pay for our salvation, but Jesus paid it all. The price was a dreadful price, the deepest suffering and the worst agony. Did he do so gladly? Yes and no. Yes, for he loved us so much. But also no, for he suffered for a long time and at a great depth. His agony was not only on the cross, but with every thought of what lay ahead.
Every day Jesus stepped down roads that would bring him to Jerusalem, to trial, to a crown of thorns, to nails through hands and feet. He knew it and it distressed him. But he faced forward and lived out his calling. Every day he still healed the sick, still fed the hungry, still taught the crowds, still proclaimed the good news, still showed tenderness to lepers and children, still took compassion on those society had rejected, still nurtured his disciples, and still spent time alone with his Father. His mission was to do all his Father wanted. And if that will included suffering and death, so be it.
Some are motivated only by things from which they gain .Some will do only what feels good to them. Some need proof of success, preferably in the short term, or they won’t even start.
Jesus was motivated very differently, motivated by the will of the one who had sent him. But step followed step down the road to that dreadful baptism. For us, he faced the terror and gave his whole life. But it never stopped him.
Jesus also knew that following him might bring division.
Jesus is not teaching emotional hatred for family members, but making it very clear that all relationships must be secondary to following him. Jesus’ words also show that discipleship disturbs life and relationships. Jesus’ message was hard but honest. No one who hears and considers his words could ever feel misled about the cost of discipleship. But also, no one who hears and considers his words could ever doubt that there is no other choice to make than surrendering to him as Lord, no other life worth living than giving every day and every breath to him, His way is the only way.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, you are the center of my life. I thank you for my family and pray that I will never be a stumbling block for their faith. Give me the wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Help me, so that I will never compromise the Gospel, nor needlessly alienate those whom you have sent me to serve.
Certainly Jesus came to bring peace. But it would never be superficial peace. It would never mean everyone agreeing. It would never make every follower likeable and appreciated by everyone else. It would never mean a life filled with nothing but harmony, as if there would be no anger, no division, no uncertainty, no struggles. Those who would go Jesus way travel a road with trouble and trial, sacrifice and sadness, darkness and despair. Yes, there will be joy, and glory, and life eternal. That will be in heaven, but also here and now. But the here and now is not only happiness but hardship, not only unity but division. The road ahead is good but not an easy road to travel.