The Sword of the Gospel

Matthew 10: 34—11:1
Isa 1: 10-17 / Psa 50

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
(Matthew 10:34)

Put no hope on what this world may bring,
Life isn’t always what it may seem.
Put Jesus first above everything
If we want to be a part of Him.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own 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 the cross and follow 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 welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple — truly I tell you, he will surely not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:34-42)

Reflection

At first it would seem paradoxical to read the Prince of Peace saying He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. But what Jesus was saying was a prophecy, warning His disciples about the coming persecution that missionaries of the Gospel would be encountering, even up to the present age. Indeed there would be conflicts – even among family members – over values and doctrinal differences, and even His own family – the Church – would not be spared from the coming schisms. But our Lord pointed out that no loyalties or commitments on earth must take precedence over our relationship with Him, even if it means breaking away from our loved ones (as priests and nuns do in pursuit of their vocation), or taking up our crosses (trials) to follow Him by standing up for the Gospel’s values. This is the challenge that our leaders in the new administration led by President Aquino are facing today. Love of country through honest governance will surely be opposed by self-interest groups and corrupt politicians long entrenched in the traditional evil ways of doing business. But as Pres. Aquino reminded his countrymen, we are his boss, and it is up to us to effect the change, if we are committed to eliminate graft and corruption in our country.

A Jesuit priest once said in his homily, “Life is all about living out our mission from God, nothing more, and nothing less.” This implies being a man for others. And as many of us have heard in countless other homilies, the common thread that binds us in our life missions is making God’s love, fidelity and righteousness a reality in our own individual undertakings. When our goal in life is simply to become the richest or the most successful in our business or profession, then we have not yet discovered the real purpose of our earthly existence. Many of us are grateful for the Ignatian principles that our Jesuit mentors of the past (and our modern day prophets) had successfully ingrained in our formative years. It is to their credit that we have learned to give more than “a cup of cold water” to the less privileged, having been blessed by the love taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.

May we always live Jesus’ message of love and justice in our lives so that we can help build a better future for our country and our children. May His gospel ideals be our constant guide, so that all our words and actions magnify You, Almighty God. Amen.

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