Matthew 10:34- 11:1
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns
Reflection. Today’s gospel is a powerful one, mostly because I can relate fully to it. Many of us can. In particular, I am here to share my thoughts, however, because the hit close to home. In any family, large or small, there will be unbelievers, lost sheep, those that question the truth, and those that must see to believe. To quote Saint Augustine, “Unless you believe, you will not understand.” which of course is quite often confused with the scripture reading in Isaiah 7:9 which reads, “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. ” Both, make a great point however. If you are dealing with a non-believer, and particularly one in your immediate family, such as a wife, brother, father, sister, etc, it is hard for those that are lost to fathom the love that we have for Christ, and why He alone comes before all else. I have been asked often, do you love Christ more than your family; and without hesitation I have replied, “absolutely”. For one that does not know what it is liked to be saved by the grace of our Lord, to be loved by Christ, and to understand His purpose on Earth, and why we are saved, it is hard for the non-believer that questions the unknown, or better the un-seen, whom looks at things from an absolute, that being a scientific or proven method, without fully looking to, and embracing scripture for what it is- the truth. The un-denying literal truth that God came down as man, was sacrificed and tortured so that we, may have ever-lasting life. Death, as we know it, is just simply not the end all be all. For many this is hard to grasp. For a believer, such as myself, I try to explain to my loved ones that it is because of my family, that I love Christ even more. It is His grace that has given me my children, my wife, and my close family. It is His love, even through suffering that has given me the greatest of gifts in life, a wife, children, a job, a house, love, and happiness. It is in His sacrifice that I am eternally grateful. It is in His love for me, and all of His creation, that He shows forth his compassion and love. It is through travesty that I find His comfort. It is in His arms that evil cannot and will not triumph. We must always remember that the Earth is the Devil’s domain, that is, evil is present. But those that believe, will have life after so-called death, that is, death is just another obstacle of evil that we must over-come, for their is life everlasting in His kingdom. Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”, John 8:51.
In today’s scripture, our Lord speaks of the splinter that the believer will face with the non-believer. As the God-man, he truly understands the pitfalls of temptation, the grace of choice that He had given us, and the fact that most will need to see, to believe. He knew that His words, His truth would divide households, nations, and cause dissent. Being a Christian would not be easy, and it was He that knew this firsthand by His torture and eventual death on the Cross. But He also knew that through His resurrection, many would “see” and finally believe, and that those that did would go forth to teach His truth. It is hard for a Christian to teach to the unbeliever, but it is something that we must do. At the end of every Mass, we hear the words, “Go Forth and Teach the Gospel”. These are the things we must do as Christians. These are the prayers that we must say and do everyday, so that our loved ones may be saved. Some may never get there on Earth; some will have to see to believe, and purify their souls in purgatory to be in the presence of our ever-loving Lord. But, even if they do not do so during our Earthly lives, we must never give up the faith, we must never waiver, and we must never cease to pray, for His love is eternal, and His gifts are great. All you have to do is listen and then receive. God Bless! ~CJA