Aug 18 2019 Reflection
Sunday 18 August 2019
First Reading: JER 38:4-6, 8-10
Lord, come to my aid!
PS 40:2, 3, 4, 18
Second Reading: HEB 12:1-4
Gospel Reading: LK 12:49-53
Today’s Note: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? (Luke 12:51)
Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Didn’t Isaiah announce the coming of the “Prince of Peace” (9:5)? Didn’t the angels sing, “Peace on earth” on the night Jesus was born (see Luke 2:14)? Of course he came to establish peace on earth!
That may be true, but at the same time, the aged Simeon prophesied that Jesus would be “a sign that will be contradicted” (Luke 2:34). In fact, Jesus’ entire public life seemed to be marked by division and controversy. Pharisees and Sadducees argued over him. The Jewish Sanhedrin couldn’t come to agreement. Even one of his close followers turned traitor on him.
So is Jesus a source of peace? Or is he a source of division? He’s both.
Jesus knows that not everyone will embrace his message and the peace that comes with it. He also knows that divisions will arise because of this. On a grand scale, we have seen this in religious conflicts around the globe. And on a more intimate scale, we see this in many families. On the one hand are those who have accepted Jesus and the blessings of his salvation. On the other hand are those who have yet to embrace the salvation that Jesus came to bring. At times, the differences can be so strong as to cause conflict and separation.
Divisions may be inevitable, but they don’t have to be permanent. That’s where you come in. How will you respond when those divisions manifest themselves at home? With compassion, prayer, and understanding? Or with defensiveness, arguments, and condemnation?
Jesus is the Prince of Peace because he came to bring peace to our divided hearts. And as our own divided hearts are healed, we learn how to love as he loves and how to forgive as he forgives. Only Jesus’ love and forgiveness can bring unity.
You can make a difference. By staying close to Jesus, who is your peace, you can be a force for reconciliation. Never underestimate the impact you can have!
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”