August 19, 2007
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Jesus' words today seem unbearably harsh. All this talk of division and warring among family members is hard to hear. Well, it is hard to hear if all we do is read this one particular part of Luke. Jesus repeatedly throughout the Gospels talks of how God's love is for all creation and that he has come to save the world. So why does Jesus give us this harsh warning about division?
Jesus was preparing the disciples for a hard reality. It would become clear very quickly after Jesus' Resurrection that division would begin right in the heart of the Church. The Apostle Paul would write numerous letter addressing division. Jesus wanted the disciples to be ready and he also wanted them to strive to stay above it.
I believe that Jesus is setting us up to see that division is our doing and not his. Each and every one of us must make a choice whether we strive for unity or we work for division. God's love unites us but we can choose to live divided by our infighting, agendas, selfishness, prejudice, grandiosity, anger, sense of entitlement, delusions of superiority, etc. Divisions within the Church, the Body of Christ, is our doing. We only have ourselves to blame.
Let us all work hard to dismantle the things that divide us. We can remain strong and true to the Faith and at the same time work for unity. Being different from one another does not mean we have to be divided. True unity is when we can agree to disagree and still work together faithfully for the Kingdom of God. We must choose to be united rather than divided.