Conflicts and Compassion

Matthew 10:34 –11:1
Ex 1:8-14.22 / Ps 124

Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
(Mt.10:38)

As we have been shown by Jesus,
May God’s love be our life’s mission.
For the poor, live out the Good News;
This should be our prime profession.

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 –11:1)

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 doing was preparing His disciples for 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 doctrinal differences, and even His own family – the Church—would not be exempt from the coming schisms. But our Lord pointed out that no loyalties or commitments on earth can ever be more important than our relationship with Him, even if it means breaking away from our loved ones (as priests do for their vocation), or taking up our cross (trials) to follow Him in our individual missions.

A Jesuit priest once said in his homily, “Life is all about living out our mission from God, nothing more, and nothing less.” And as many of us have heard in countless other homilies, the common thread that binds all of our life missions is to make God’s love for all men a reality in our own individual undertakings. When our goal in life is simply to become the best or the most successful in our chosen career or profession, then we have not yet discovered the real purpose of our existence.

In the daily email messages among highschool and college batchmates in our e-group, one of the common topics of conversation revolves around the poverty and social ills of our country. When a suggestion was made for pledges to help build forty low-cost houses for the homeless through the Gawad Kalinga to commemorate our batch’s Ruby anniversary, the quota was filled in just a matter of days, and donations started to pour in. Other concerns like extending financial help to some classmates in medical distress also came up, and the same spirit of love and compassion was shown in “welcoming Jesus and His Father into our lives.” All of us are grateful for the Ignatian ideals 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 poor, having been blessed by the love taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.

May we always live Jesus’ message of love in our lives so that we can magnify You, Almighty God. Amen.

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