THEME: THE NECESSARY DIVISION.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OCTOBER 20 2022.
‘father against son, and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother ‘
The tone of today’s Gospel (Luke 12:49-53) is uncommon. Why would Jesus bring division? The Prince of Peace? The Love incarnate? Jesus has come into this world to establish the kingdom of God. He has come to transform a sinful world, and that kind of transformation does not come easily. Many who are first in this world will be last in the kingdom of God (13:30), and cannot be expected to accept this reversal without a fight. Throughout His ministry, Jesus comforts the afflicted (those without power) and afflicts the comfortable (those in power).
Throughout His ministry, Jesus experiences conflict that will culminate on the cross. Simeon foretold this conflict while Jesus was still a baby. “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:34-35).
Not detached from the mission of Christ, the early church will also experience conflict from without and within. Jews, including Saul of Tarsus, will persecute Christians. Roman soldiers will line the roads with crosses. There will also be conflict inside the church, conflict regarding the status of Gentiles, eating of meat sacrificed to idols, and a host of other issues.
The church today still struggles with opposition from without and divisions within. Christians today are suffering persecution in many parts of the world, and are under pressure to mute their witness in most other places. If we are to do Christ’s work, we must expect opposition. Unfortunately, we also generate conflict within the church by fighting over such trivia as the colour of the altar.
The first disciples left their families to follow Jesus. They have already experienced the family strains of which Jesus speaks here. While Jesus’ words about division might be unsettling to us, they are a comfort to these early Christians. Jesus’ words help them to make sense of a world that opposes them and causes them to suffer. In John’s Gospel, Jesus says,“I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Some family members are seen as enemies within their very own family simply because they have accepted Christ. Some friends are hated for same reason. This is a major upset. Some division may be a necessary means for peace. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ our Lord Amen. Good morning.
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